More than 500 NATO soldiers took part in an airborne night exercise in central Estonia on Friday. The mass jump was part of the US-led exercise Operation Rapid Response 2023, which should also be watched with interest in Moscow.
The jump took place over Nurmasi Airport in the Jaffa region. In addition to the American units, paratroopers from Poland, the Czech Republic and Great Britain also participated.
It is clear that the objective of the operation is to practice combat operations on and over unfamiliar terrain. Therefore, the majority of participants were taken directly to the drop-off point with minimal prior information. For example, Polish units came directly from Krakow.
Opposite Colonel Viktor Kalnitsky, Chief of Staff of the Estonian Exercise Command ERR.ee: “It’s all new for the participants. They jump in a place where they don’t know the terrain, without any prior knowledge.”
Before the jump, a reconnaissance team from the neighboring district of Rapla went to the airport to secure it for the night jump. Because of the potential dangers of an action of this magnitude, medical care was practiced on Earth at the same time.
The exercises aim to demonstrate the combat capability of the armed forces in the NATO theater of operations
After the jump, which appeared to be a success without any noteworthy incidents, the Airborne Forces were to collect their equipment and proceed in a coordinated manner. The video images provided give an idea of the logistical challenge the whole thing was.
(Estonian radio video coverage of NATO’s airborne exercise)
At the same time, the jump was the culmination of the “Rapid Response 2023” on Estonian soil, so to speak, where the series of maneuvers will continue as planned at the beginning of next week. The exercises will take place across Europe until May 20.
Rapid Response aims to ensure that combat-capable forces are deployed in theater and able to respond to threats against NATO Allies and Partners.
Countries participating in the NATO series of exercises include the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and, of course, the United States.
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