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SABRE STRIKE 2015
International Exercise Saber Strike 15
Saber Strike is an annual international exercise held by the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) in the Baltic States. Saber Strike 15 is the fifth iteration of the series held in Lithuania.
Saber Strike increases in scope involving more NATO allies and partner countries each year. This year the exercise will train the record number of 6,000 troops from 13 NATO member and partner states - Denmark, Estonia, U.S.A., UK, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland. Several hundreds of the training audience will be undergoing training in Estonia, roughly 2.5 thousand in Latvia and Poland, and roughly 3 thousand - in Lithuania.
This year brigade-level Command Post Exercise (CPX) and planning procedures will be based at the General Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre (Nemenčinė) and train staffs of brigades from 5 NATO allies, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the USA, while battalion-level field exercise will be running concurrently in Latvia's, Lithuania's, and Poland's military training areas.
- to enhance trilateral and multilateral cooperation;
- to share experience among NATO allies;
- to train interoperability and coordination of actions in combined NATO units;
- to practice rendering Host Nation Support and refine procedures for hosting allied forces in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.
Exercise sites, locations
Exercise Saber Strike is hosted by one of the Baltic countries on a rotating basis. This year its main action is held in Lithuania for which reason exercise Higher Control Element (HICON) will be based in the General Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas Warfare Training Centre Nemenčinė.
Command Post Exercise (CPX) of all the 5 brigade staffs training in Saber Strike 2015 will take place at the General Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas Warfare Training Centre Nemenčinė in Lithuania.
Field Training Exercise (FTX) will be running in Latvia, Poland and Lithuania, in the Adazi Training Area, the Drawsko Pomarski Training Area, and in the Gaižiūnų and the General Silvestras Žukauskas (in Pabradė) Training Areas, respectively. The majority of air assets deployed to the exercise will be stationed in Estonia (Amari).
In accordance with the objectives of Exercise Saber Strike 15 its major focus is on the Baltic States, however, it will at the same time provide beneficial training for military personnel from 10 more NATO member states: Denmark, U.S.A., UK, Canada, Poland, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, and Finland.
Saber Strike 15 HICON based in Lithuania will be manned by all the participating nations, however, its core will be formed by staff personnel of the Pennsylvania National Guard's Division.
The staff which will coordinate the part of the exercise held in Lithuania will be formed by military personnel of the Lithuanian Land Forces HQ.
The FTX of Exercise Saber Strike 15 held in the Adazi Training Area in Latvia will also certify at national level the Baltic Battalion (BALTBAT) which is preparing for standby for the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016. BALTBAT formed by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian militaries is a combined Baltic contribution to the NATO Response Force. Lithuania's input into BALTBAT is a company and a headquarters element of King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion.
The FTXs in Lithuania involving roughly 1,600 soldiers from across the Lithuanian Land Force and roughly 900 soldiers from deployed or rotating companies of USAREUR's 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and also participants from the U.S. Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the 292nd Jaeger Battalion of Germany, a reconnaissance company of the 6th Cavalry Regiment of Portugal, and operational planning officers from Canada will take place at the Gaižiūnų (Rukla) and the General Silvestras Žukauskas (Pabradė) Training Areas.
It should be noted that the exercise will involve not only land but also air force element comprised of different types of aircraft from the U.S. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota Air National Guards.
Concept and subject of Saber Strike 15
On June 9 preparations for Saber Strike 15 in Lithuania will take place and the exercise will be opened concurrently in Gaižiūnai and Pabradė.
The FTX in the Baltic States and the CPX in Nemenčinė will run in two phases.
Phase 1 on June 2-4 will focus on situational training. Saber Strike 15 staff personnel will be instructed on using computer tactical simulation systems and prepare for the active phase of the CPX.
Units training in the FTXs in the Gaižiūnų Training Area and the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Lithuania will practice offensive and defensive operations using a fictional exercise scenario on June 9-18.
Distinguished Visitors and Media of Saber Strike 15 is planned to be held on June 18 in Lithuania and on June 11 in Latvia. The exercise is planned to be formally closed in Lithuania in June 18.
Commander Lithuanian Land Force is responsible for arranging Host Nation Support to the allied troops training in Saber Strike 15 in Lithuania and also for national-level evaluation of units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces taking part in the exercise; Saber Strike 15 will provide a great opportunity to practice rendering Host Nation Support and honing procedures for hosting allied forces in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as for training national units for operating alongside allies.
Saber Strike 15 will be interlinked with international Exercise Baltops 15 organised by the U.S. Army Europe in the Baltic Sea.
Military materiel used in Saber Strike 15
During the FTX in Lithuania the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and companies of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kęstutis Mechanised Infantry and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalions will train with M113 tracked armoured vehicles, and the platoon from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard will be using their STRYKER wheeled armoured fighting vehicles.
Soldiers from deployed or rotating companies of USAREUR's 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division will be training with the ABRAMS A2 main battle tanks and the STRYKER APCs, the airborne landing operation will be executed by soldiers of companies of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Germany's 31st Airborne Brigade, Germany's 292nd Jaeger Battalion will be using the BOXER and the FUCHS APCs and the EAGLE IV and the DINGO II reconnaissance armoured vehicles at Saber Strike 2015, while the 6th Cavalry Regiment of Portugal will be training with multiple modifications of the PANDUR APCs.
Contemporary battle is hardly conceivable without close air support which will be provided by 8 A-10 Thunderbolt fighters of the Michigan Air National Guard and B-52 jet-powered strategic bomber of the U.S. Air Force under coordination from joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from the United States, Lithuania and Canada.
Two KC-135 aircraft of the Michigan and the Pennsylvania Air National Guards will stand ready to provide aerial refuelling for the abovementioned aircraft. Logistic airborne landing operations will be conducted from C-130 transport aircraft of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). In the event of necessity, rescue and airlift operations will be carried out by Lithuanian Air Force's Mi-8 with crew.