The NATO Response Force’s quick-reaction unit, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) has tested its deployment at short notice for the protection and defence of NATO’s southern flank through Exercise Noble Jump 23. Noble Jump 23 was held in Sardinia, Italy, from 17 April until 12 May 2023. It featured around 2,200 troops provided by seven NATO Allies, including Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway, with logistical support provided by Italy, as host nation.
Of those, more than 700 belonged to the German Army’s Panzergrenadier Brigade 37, which leads the VJTF’s land component for 2023. Various kinds of heavy military equipment were deployed, including Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Germany and Norway, CV 90 infantry fighting vehicles from the Netherlands, and German self-propelled howitzers. Under the command of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, the troops conducted several activities of tactical training to ensure their readiness to respond to any threat.
Nato’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was created in 2014, following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and crises in the Middle East. Germany has just taken over from France, which led the force in 2022. In response to Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Nato deployed elements of the VJTF to Romania on the unit’s first collective-defence mission. The VJTF is part of the NATO Response Force, a multinational unit capable of countering threats on land, in the air and at sea with regular and Special Operations units.
The NATO Response Force can also perform peace-support operations, protect critical infrastructure and support disaster relief efforts. The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high-readiness NATO rapid deployment force comprising land, sea, air, and special forces units capable of being deployed quickly within short notice. The NRF currently comprises up to 40,000 troops, with plans to increase its manpower to over 300,000 troops. The NRF was formed in June 2003 per endorsements at the 2002 Prague summit.