Army fires at center of major NATO exercise – Russia watched

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The military this week launched a key part of Defender Europe 2021, a series of military-led military exercises across Europe and Africa, as the United States develops ways to conduct battles in the United States. sides of Estonian allies in Morocco.

This part of Defender Europe’s largest 2021 exercise has been dubbed “Fires Shock,” officials from the Journalist Service said on a call Wednesday.

The annual Defender Europe exercise, in preparation for more than a year, follows a scaled-down version, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken place Last year. But it comes shortly after Russia sent up to 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine and Crimea, an area that Russia forcibly annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Russia has withdrawn some of its troops, but as of this week, 80,000 troops remain.

Officials in President Biden’s administration told the New York Times that Russian personnel were taken into custody to show the United States and its NATO allies that Russia can match the number of troops participating in Exercise Defender Europe. The troops present there would far exceed the estimated 28,000 troops from various countries participating in Defender Europe.

Military officials who spoke with the press about the “Shock firesPart of this larger exercise refused to discuss Russia specifically, deferring to the US State Department.

“(The exercise) is not conducted in direct response to a specific threat or adversary,” said Brig. Gen. Chris Norrie, chief of the U.S. Army 7th Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

On the same call, Major General Indrek Sirel, deputy commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, also avoided specific references to Russia. But alluded to the deterrent factor.

Part of Estonia’s role in a potential conflict is to receive airborne forces from the military to help them fight an adversary.

“It is a demonstration of allied cohesion, a demonstration of our will, as well as the improvement of our skills at all levels,” said Sirel.

Although there is no particular reason for the first of the exercises to start in Estonia, “all are signals, all are messages of deterrence,” he said.

The fire management officer for Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, talks with Estonian soldiers about the complexity of shooting missions with allied and partner countries such as Estonia, during Rail Gunner Rush live fire exercise in Tapa, Estonia, Sept.  5, 2020 (Maj. Joe Bush / Army)
The fire management officer for Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, talks with Estonian soldiers about the complexity of shooting missions with allied and partner countries such as Estonia, during Rail Gunner Rush live fire exercise in Tapa, Estonia, Sept. 5, 2020 (Maj. Joe Bush / Army)

For years, military officials have strived to improve long-range marksmanship capabilities in Europe, especially to counter fires and defenses that transcend the distances that Russia has developed and deployed along of its borders with its rivals in Eastern Europe.

The Soldiers, primarily with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, will deploy their precision multiple-launch rocket systems to “soften” the area ahead of airborne force entry exercises this week in Estonia.

The unit and other US Army rifle elements in Europe and Africa will also bring out the big guns – with some help from US Air Forces Europe – in Germany and Poland through to the rest of the world. the month of May for Exercise Dynamic Front; in Bulgaria for the Saber Guardian exercise in early June; and in Morocco from early to mid-June for the African Lion exercise.

This type of work, especially with the armies of other countries, helps the military find the best way to use sensors and shooters, especially when calling for fires with partners or allied forces, Norrie said.

“This allows us to better understand how to position the sensors and then test the entire sensor-to-shooter linkage,” said Norrie. “You have to practice this. It is essential for us to regularly exercise joint fires of the army and to integrate with our allies.

Col. Daniel Miller, who heads the 41st FAB, told reporters that the procedures and digital communications between the U.S. and Allied systems are the same regardless of the type of system or the language the operators speak.

But the soldiers still have to do the job of loading the material, transporting it to the site, shooting accurately, and moving quickly to another location. And this must be done with partner forces.

As the Army had only one long-range organic precision rocket unit stationed forward in Europe, Miller called his brigade the “action arm” of the ongoing fire drills until. mid-June.

By integrating their firing capability with units from Norway to southern Europe, its soldiers and their counterparts will feed targeting data to rocket systems, evaluating the best means to detect and strike for current and future operations.

Planning for the operation began over a year ago. In March, equipment from the United States was loaded onto ships to arrive in Albania, Croatia, Germany and Greece, officials said.

Soldiers from the 41st FAB had a dress rehearsal last year when they first transported their missile systems from Germany to Estonia in August, Sirel said.

“These exercises demonstrate our ability to command and control long-range fires across continents, using a variety of networked and multi-domain communication platforms,” said Norrie.

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