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Allies To Practice Airborne Ops During KEVADTORM 2024

Library image from SWIFT RESPONSE 2017 of a US C-17 carrying out a daytime heavy drop of US Airborne Brigade Combat Team vehicles [© Bob Morrison]

As part of SPRING STORM / KEVADTORM 2024 allies will conduct airborne operations during exercise SWIFT RESPONSE to practice defending Estonia.

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Press Release, Tallinn, 07 May 2024: As part of the SPRING STORM exercise, from May 6-11 allies will conduct airborne operations to practice defending Estonia during the exercise. The exercise mainly takes place in Central and Western Estonia, involving units from the Defence Forces, the Defence League, and allied units.

“The role of the units from the Territorial Defence Region Northeast is diverse, starting from practising various defensive activities. Participation in the exercise is very important, as it provides the units and the staff with a great opportunity to practice cooperation with allies and to test our skills and knowledge,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jaanus Ainsalu, Commander of the Territorial Defence Region Northeast.

US Paratroopers tab off the Nurmsi Drop Zone in Estonia early in the morning after a Transatlantic flight at the start of SWIFT RESPONSE 2021 [© Bob Morrison]

During the 2024 exercise, allied units together with the Defence Forces and the Defence League train their ability to rapidly reinforce the country with additional allied forces. During the exercise, Estonia as the host nation provides support to increase defence readiness and to practice airborne cooperation capabilities with allies and partners. In the part of the exercise taking place in Estonia, Defence Forces units as well as the Defence League’s Northern, Northeastern and Western Territorial Defence Regions, along with allies from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Poland, and Latvia, participate.

“The exercise is a good opportunity for the units of the Järva unit to put their prior knowledge to the test,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kuido Pettai, Commander of the Defence League’s Järva unit. “In terms of teamwork and cohesion, such exercises are of significant value, as prolonged field training, cooperation with allies, and the constantly changing tactical situation force soldiers to break out of their routine. Often, it is during such exercises that new practices are developed which are later integrated into training.”

An Estonian soldier defending a village in Lääne-Viru County during KEVADTORM 2023 [© Bob Morrison]

The exercise is linked to NATO’s largest exercise to date, STEADFAST DEFENDER, which involves over 90,000 allies. It is an annual international exercise led by the US Army Europe and Africa Command, with main activities occurring from the Baltic States to the Balkans. The purpose of the exercise is to practice interoperability of allied forces, to be ready to respond quickly and effectively to various crises when needed.

SPRING STORM is the largest annual exercise of the Estonian Defence Forces, during which military operations planning and execution are practised, as well as enhanced cooperation between Estonian and allied units. The exercise involves active-duty military personnel, conscripts, reservists, members of the Defence League, and participants from allied nations.

SPRING STORM 2024 is part of the NATO exercise series STEADFAST DEFENDER 2024, representing a significant component of this extensive NATO exercise. STEADFAST DEFENDER 2024 is the largest NATO exercise in decades, with nearly 90,000 participants from all 32 member states participating over a six-month period from January to July 2024. The broader framework for the exercise has been set by confirmed NATO regional defence plans.

UK Paratoopers tabbing off the Nurmsi Drop Zone at the start of SWIFT RESPONSE 21 [© Bob Morrison]

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