Defense: NATO completes largest maneuver since 1980s

Defense: NATO completes largest maneuver since 1980s

More than 90,000 soldiers and dozens of ships and fighter jets: NATO has been training intensively for a grim scenario in recent months. But the maneuver should also send a message.

Today, after around four months, NATO is ending its largest exercise in decades. According to information from the headquarters of the allied forces in Europe, more than 90,000 soldiers, as well as more than 50 warships and 1,100 combat vehicles took part in the Steadfast Defender exercise.

In addition, there were more than 80 aircraft with which hundreds of flights were completed. Training was given in particular to the alerting and deployment of national and multinational land forces to NATO’s eastern flank, from the Arctic Circle to the Romanian Carpathians.

According to information from the dpa, the scenario for the large-scale exercise was a Russian attack on allied territory, which would lead to the declaration of the so-called alliance case under Article 5 of the NATO treaty. The latter regulates the obligation to provide assistance within the alliance and states that an armed attack against one or more allies is considered an attack against all.

Practiced for the first time with new regional defense plans

According to NATO, the exercise was the first to use new regional defense plans, which the allies had agreed on last year in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War was organized in 2018 with a focus on Norway. Around 51,000 soldiers took part. The last NATO maneuvers that were larger than the exercise that has now been completed took place before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

At that time, there was also the “Return of Forces to Germany” series of maneuvers. Around 125,000 soldiers were mobilized for this in 1988.

Inspector General of the Bundeswehr draws positive conclusion

The German Armed Forces participated in Steadfast Defender, among other things, with a major exercise called Quadriga 2024. This involved practicing the relocation of more than 12,000 soldiers from their home bases to possible operational areas along NATO’s eastern flank.

Inspector General Carsten Breuer had already drawn a positive conclusion at the end of the Quadriga maneuver in Lithuania in the middle of the week. “We have demonstrated our ability to fight in war,” he said. It had been shown that the Allies can defend themselves.

Source: Stern

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