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IRON SWORD 2014
Iron Sword 2014 is a multinational exercise organised by the Land Force of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in Lithuania as part of the NATO Military Training and Exercise Program (MTEP). This is the first iteration of Exercise Iron Sword in Lithuania, from now on it is planned to take place annually.
The multinational Exercise Iron Sword 2014 is running in Lithuania on November 2 through 14. It involves over 2.5 thousand military personnel from 9 NATO member states: the Czech Republic, Estonia, U.S.A., UK, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary and Germany, this year with a prospect of growing in scope and incorporating more NATO allies and partner countries.
The overall goal of the exercise - to train interoperability in NATO units, coordination of actions, and readiness to carry out defensive, offensive and stabilisation operations
- to enhance multilateral military cooperation;
- to exchange experience among allies;
- to certify units of the Lithuanian Land Force for standby for the NATO Response Force in 2015 and 2016;
- to train non-kinetic operations military personnel of the Lithuanian Land Force to complete indirect impact operations in civilian environment;
- to train delivering Host Nation Support and hone procedures for receiving allied forces in the territory of Lithuania.
A multinational Command Post Exercise of Iron Sword 2014 took place on October 13-15 at the Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre in Nemenčinė where operational plans for defensice and offensive actions were generated. The efficiency of the plans are put to test at the active phase of the exercise which runs in two major military training areas of Lithuania.
In the first week of the tactical field exercise the participants of Iron Sword 2014 train at the Gaižiūnų and the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Ranges. On the second week of Exercise Iron Sword 2014 the training audience will concentrate at the Gaižiūnų Training Range in Pabradė where the relief-in-place actions will be completed the pre-planned combat tasks will be carried out.
In view of the overall aim and objectives of Exercise Iron Sword 2014, its focus is on the participating units of the Lithuanian Land Force, however, military personnel of another 8 NATO allies - the Czech Republic, Estonia, U.S.A., UK, Canada, Luxembourg, Hungary and Germany, are also training in the event.
The Exercise Directing Staff is formed by all the nations participating in Exercise Iron Sword 2014, while its core is made up of the military personnel of the Lithuanian Land Force.
The tactical field exercise at the Gaižiūnų and the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Ranges involves the Lithuanian Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan, King Mindaugas Hussar, Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon, Juozas Vitkus Engineer, Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kęstutis Mechanised Infantry Battalions, the 5th and the 8th Territorial Units of the Didžioji Kova Military District of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Force, and other assigned units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces (the Lithuanian Air Force, the Logistics Command, the Military Police, and the Training and Doctrine Command) - the total of over 1.900 participants. The Lithuanian personnel trains alongside with a numerous air defence platoon from the Czech Republic including roughly 75 members, an infantry platoon from Estonia of roughly 30 members, a company of the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and another from the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army, both deployed in Lithuania, totalling roughly 220, a reconnaissance company and an engineer platoon from Germany, totalling roughly 160, an infantry company from the United Kingdom of approximately 130 members, an infantry company from Hungary including roughly 140 soldiers, and an infantry platoon from Canada of roughly 30 members, and a roughly 30 strong reconnaissance platoon from Luxembourg.
It is noteworthy that soldiers from Luxembourg, Hungary and Germany have never been deployed to international exercises in Lithuania before.
Exercise concept and theme
The multinational Exercise Iron Sword 2014 is four-fold. The first two stages, i.e. concept development and planning , were running from December 2013 till October 2014. On October 13-15 participants of Iron Sword 2014 completed planning of actions for defensive and offensive operations and relief-in-place at a Command Post Exercise at the Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre in Nemenčinė. During the third stage, the active phase of Iron Sword 2014, in November the exercise participants hone interoperability among NATO units, coordination of actions, complete defensive, offensive, relief-in-place and stabilisation operations.
In the first week of the tactical exercise on November 4-7 the participants trains defensive and offensive actions at the Gaižiūnai and the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Ranges.
On November 8-9 the military units that were training at the Gaižiūnai Training Range will complete relief-in-place actions at the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Range. Military vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and light ATVs and trucks will move in columns to Pabradė by public roads Rukla-Molėtai-Pabradė.
Having completed the relief-in-place actions the combined allied units will proceed to military tasks scheduled according to the fictional exercise scenario on the next week of the exercise, November 10-13, at the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Range.
Also, units of the Lithuanian Land Force are certified for standby for the NATO Response Force in 2015 and 2016 during the multinational exercise Iron Sword 2014. Iron Sword 2014 is also linked to non-kinetic operations Exercise Trust 2014 of the Lithuanian Land Force where participants will be practicing to complete indirect impact operations in a civilian environment in the districts of Molėtai and Švenčionys.
After Distinguished Visitors and Media Day of Iron Sword 2014 the formal exercise closing ceremony will take place on November 13.
The fourth stage will be analysis and reporting on Exercise Iron Sword 2014.
The Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force is in charge for arranging the Host Nation Support for the exercise participants deployed to Iron Sword 2014 by NATO allies and for evaluating the national units taking part in the exercise so the event gives an excellent opportunity for the Lithuanian Armed Forces to practice rendering host nation support and hone procedures for receiving allied forces in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as for training military units to act in concert with the allies.
Combat equipment used at Iron Sword 2014
Over 300 combat vehicles of various purposes are used during the multinational Exercise Iron Sword 2014.
The Lithuanian participants are training with the M113 armoured tracked personnel carriers, the HMMWV all-terrain vehicles, the MB Unimog trucks, the DAF mobile command posts, and the SISU multipurpose trucks. The U.S. participants uses the STRYKER wheeled armoured personnel carriers, the BRADLEY tracked infantry fighting vehicles, the HMMWV military all-terrain vehicles, and other combat equipment. The German soldiers trains with the FUCHS armoured personnel carriers, the FENNEK light armoured all-terrain vehicles, other military ATVs and trucks. German engineers uses the BPZ heavy tracked armoured recovery vehicles, Hungarian infantry - the BTR-80 and BTR-80 AM wheeled armoured personnel carriers, military ATVs and trucks. And the British part of the training audience are training with the LAND ROVER ATVs, four-wheelers and military trucks. The reconnaissance platoon of the Luxembourg trains with the DINGO light armoured military all-terrain vehicles.