On 17-28 May, NATO Allies participated in Summer Shield multinational training exercise in Latvia. Its aim was to enhance joint capabilities in conducting combat operations, including air and ground coordination. Key participants of the exercise in the Ādaži training area included detachments of the Latvian Mechanised Brigade reinforced by NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG) Latvia and a U.S. detachment equipped with M1A2 Abrams tanks stationed outside the Latvian territory on a daily basis.
The exercise was also a test for the combat support specialists of the Latvian brigade. The soldiers primarily performed tactical tasks preceded by the process of planning and coordinating combat support elements both within the eFP BG Latvia and the Latvian Mechanised Brigade. In the first stage of the exercise, Latvian soldiers supported by their Allies conducted defensive actions, smoothly proceeding to perfecting offensive actions. All the operations were supported by Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, Apache attack helicopters and the B-52 US strategic bomber. In addition to the Latvian army, the training was attended by soldiers of the armed forces of Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, and Slovakia.
In the first phase of the exercise, Polish tank troops of the 15th Giżycko Mechanised Brigade together with a Spanish mechanised company played the role of an opponent’s force. Tasks set for soldiers of the Polish Military Contingent by EXCON featured a high level of difficulty and were aimed at reflecting the conditions of a potential conflict as closely as possible. In the next phase of the exercise tank soldiers were given the task of supporting Latvian forces by carrying out a counter-attack in favour of the Latvian brigade. During the exercises, Polish soldiers demonstrated above-average commitment and a high level of training, which confirmed their excellent preparation to perform tasks in the mission area.
The Summer Shield exercise was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the strength and unity of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the cooperation of eFP BG Latvia with the soldiers of the Latvian Mechanised Brigade (Latvijas Nacionālie bruņotie spēki) in the international arena. The conducted training proved that the National Armed Forces of the Republic of Latvia together with its Allies are able to face any possible threat in the region of the Baltic States. The Summer Shield exercise was designed to increase military to military interoperability between NATO Allies through various training events.