In 2017, NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence saw four new deployments, bringing multinational battlegroups into Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as a response to changing security environments along NATO’s eastern border.
This story follows three crew members of an ASCOD Pizarro armoured vehicle and their day-to-day life. The film crew embedded with the Brigade “Extremadura XI” from the pre-deployment training until their multinational training in Latvia. Here they share with us both military and more person moments.
As part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, Spain has deployed a heavy armoured unit abroad for the first time. Around 300 troops, 250 of which are from the Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Extremadura XI”, supported by Leopard tanks and Pizarro armoured vehicles, were stationed in eastern Europe for six months. They constituted the second biggest contingent of the Latvian-based battlegroup led by Canada. The battlegroup has also been supported by troops from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) armoured fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG (in 1998 the production of heavy armed vehicles was sold out under the name Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug, which is now the producer) and Spanish General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas (both companies are now divisions of a unit of General Dynamics). In Spanish service, the vehicle is called Pizarro, while the Austrian version is called Ulan. The ASCOD family includes the LT 105, a light tank equipped with a 105 mm gun, a SAM launcher, an anti-tank missile launcher, mortar carrier, R&R vehicle, Command & Control vehicle, ambulance, artillery observer, and the AIFV model.