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SABER STRIKE 2014
Exercise Saber Strike is an annual multinational exercise organized by the U. S. Army in Europe, (USAREUR) and hosted by the three Baltic States. Saber Strike 2014 is the fourth iteration of the exercise.
Expanding each year, Exercise Saber Strike encompasses a growing number of NATO and partner states. This year the exercise is training a record number of approximately 4.5 thousand participants from 10 NATO and partner nations - Canada, Denmark, Estonia, the U.S.A., the UK, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Finland. Several hundreds of the exercise training audience is training in Estonia, around 2 thousand in Latvia and approximately 2.3 thousand - in Lithuania.
This year Exercise Saber Strike 2014 includes brigade-level command post exercise and tactical field exercise conducted concurrently on June 9 through 20. The exercise is training interoperability in combined NATO units, coordination of actions, and readiness to execute defensive and offensive operations.
- to enhance trilateral and multilateral military cooperation;
- to exchange experience with Allies;
- to train interoperability in combined NATO units, coordination of actions and readiness to execute defensive and offensive operations.
- to practice rendering Host Nation Support and hone procedures of hosting allied capabilities in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.
Exercise Saber Strike is held in one of the Baltic States as the main host on a rotational basis. This year the highest division-level element of command, Exercise Command Group (ECG), will be based in the National Defence Academy of Latvia in Riga.
The command post portion of the exercise is conducted in all three Baltic States: in Tartu, Estonia, in Riga, Latvia and at the General Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre in Nemenčinė, Lithuania.
The tactical field exercise will be hosted by Latvia (Adazi Training Range) and Lithuania (Gaižiūnų Training Range). The Exercise Control Center (EXCON) for the portion of Exercise Saber Strike 2014 in Lithuania will be based in the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion in Rukla. Amari and Lielvarde military facilities in Estonia and Latvia respectively is providing the main bases for the air assets involved in the exercise.
Exercise Training Audience
Given the primary objectives of Exercise Saber Strike 2014 the Baltic States is its key focus, however, troops from 7 more NATO allies - Canada, Denmark, the U.S., the UK, Norway, Poland, and Finland - are also practicing joint action at the training event.
The Exercise Saber Strike 2014 Command Group is located in Riga (Latvia) and manned by all the participating nations with the core of the staff formed by staff members of the division of the U.S. Pennsylvania National Guard.
The EXCON for the Lithuanian-hosted portion of the exercise has been formed by personnel of the Lithuanian Land Force and the staff of the 2nd Brigade of the Danish Division.
The command post exercise in all three Baltic States is training completion of operational planning and provision of operational control for: staffs of an allied brigade formed for Exercise Saber Strike 2014 and the battalions it is formed by - in Estonia, staffs of Lithuanian and Latvian brigades and U.S. and Finland's battalions - in Latvia, staffs of battalions of Lithuanian and Latvian brigades and staffs of the command groups of U.S. and Finnish battalions' elements training in Exercise Saber Strike 2014 - in Lithuania.
Two multinational battalions are involved in the field training exercise at the Adazi Training Range, one under Estonian and another - under Latvian command. The Estonian-led battalion includes an Estonian, a Latvian and a Lithuanian company (from the Grand Duchess Uhlan Battalion), a combat engineer platoon (Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion), and Tactical Air Controller Party - TACP (General R. Giedraitis Artillery Battalion). The Latvian-led battalion comprises a company from Norway, a company from the United Kingdom, and a company from Denmark. The participating companies will be strengthened by platoons of U.S. ground forces.
The tactical field exercise part at the Gaižiūnų Training Range in Lithuania involves the following: the reaction battle group of the 2nd Brigade of the Danish Division (approximately 900 members), the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion with assigned air, military medicine, military police and engineer units amounting to approx. 700 members, the Company of USAREUR's 173rd Airborne Brigade including approx. 150 members, a company of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kęstutis Mechanised Infantry Battalion and another - from the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion, approx. 250 members each, a scout platoon of the Polish Land Forces (approx. 50 troops), and a platoon of approx. 40 personnel from the U.S. Pennsylvania National Guard.
Deployment of an air element alongside ground forces is a significant aspect of Exercise Saber Strike 2014 to highlight. The element ranges over a variety of aircraft types (specified in the last section of this release) from Danish, Estonian and Latvian Air Forces, and air components of the U.S. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota National Guards. The Bundesmarine Maritime Air Operations Center in Gluecksburg is playing the role of the Joint Air Operations Center for Saber Strike 2014.
Exercise concept and themes
Exercise Saber Strike 2014 was formally opened in Latvia, Adazi Training Range, on June 9. Lithuania will open the exercise on its behalf on June 10 at Rukla.
The command post exercise and tactical field training at Adazi will be conducted in two phases. The situational training aspect of the exercise is incorporated into the first phase on April 10-13. The participants of the command post exercise will practice using computer tactical training systems and prepare for the active phase. During the tactical field exercise in Latvia the participants will be trained to conduct water obstacle crossing, tactical movement into contact, deliberate and improvised defence, and halting and offensive actions at various on-the-ground training sites
On June 14 the command post exercise training audience will spend a Cultural Day familiarizing with their host countries and taking some rest. The next day, June 15, preparations for the active phase will begin.
The second phase of Exercise Saber Strike 2014 will take place on June 16-19. It will comprise command post training throughout the Baltic States as well as the tactical field exercise in Latvia conducted according to a fictional scenario based on defensive, offensive and counter-attack operations.
The training audience in Lithuania will follow the fictional scenario generated in advance to practice defensive and offensive operations at the Gaižiūnų Training Range on June 10 through 18.
Distinguished Visitors and Media Days of Exercise Saber Strike 2014 will be held on June 12 in Latvia and on June 17 in Lithuania. On June 15 an exposition of combat vehicles and weaponry brought by Exercise Saber Strike 2014 participants will be held in Rukla (Karaliaus Mindaugo str. 3) at 11-1500 hrs. It will be open for the public. The Closing Ceremonies are planned to take place on June 20 in Latvia and on June 18 in Lithuania.
Exercise Saber Strike 2014 offers a unique opportunity for the Lithuanian Armed Forces to practice ensuring Host Nation Support and perfect the procedures for receiving allies on the soil of Lithuania, and also for training interoperability with our allies in Lifthuanian military units, as the Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force is the officer in charge of rendering Host Nation Support to NATO forces deployed to Saber Strike 2014 and for national evaluation of the participating Lithuanian units.
Exercise Saber Strike 2014 is tied to the multinational Host Nation Support Exercise Baltic Host 2014 conducted by the Latvian Armed Forces and the U.S.-arranged multinational exercise in the Baltic Sea BaltOps 2014.
The Mechanised Infantry Company of Estonia is taking part in the tactical field exercise in Latvia with wheeled armored vehicles Patria Pasi. The U.S. platoons are using M2 Bradley tracked infantry fighting vehicles and coordinate indirect fire with M7 Bradley fighting fire support vehicle. While Danish, UK's, Latvian, Lithuanian and Norwegian companies are motorized and use a variety of lightly armored or unarmored wheeled combat vehicles.
The Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion is using M113 armored personnel carriers, the company of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kęstutis Mechanised Infantry Battalion is operating BV206 tracked carriers, the companies of the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion is using MAN military trucks, and the platoon of the Pennsylvania National Guard is operating Stryker wheeled fighting vehicles at the tactical field training.
We are also hosting plenty of Danish combat vehicles in Lithuania for the first time in our history. The reaction battle group of the 2nd Brigade of the Danish Division will be using Leopard 2 A5 main battle tanks, M113 armored personnel carriers (G4s), CV 9035 armored infantry fighting vehicles, Piranha wheeled armored infantry fighting vehicle, Duro armored medical trucks, engineering vehicles for multiple purposes, armored recovery and evacuation vehicles, armored wheeled observer vehicles Eagle IV.
In the exercise based on modern warfare which is unthinkable without air support eight F-16 fighters jets of the U.S. Minnesota National Air Guard, one B-52 strategic jet bomber of the U.S. Air Force and L-39 training jet of the Estonian Air Force are training to deliver close air support under the coordination of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) of the U.S. Air National Guard.
Two air-to-air refueling KC-135 aircraft of the U.S. Michigan and Pennsylvania Air National Guards is prepared to provide aerial refueling for the abovementioned air assets. Logistic airborne operations are conducted from a C-130 transport aircraft and CH-47 Chinook helicopters of the U.S. Army in Europe, and search and rescue operations will be executed by Mi-17 helicopter and its crew of the Latvian Air Force if such a necessity arises.