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SWIFT RESPONSE 24 Putting NATO Paratroopers to the Test

US and UK Paratroopers tabbing across Nurmsi Drop Zone in Estonia, 10 May 2024 [© Bob Morrison]

The US-led Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE 24 is putting NATO Paratroopers to the test across Europe from the Baltics to the Balkans.

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SHAPE Press Release, Mons, 06 May 2024: NATO airborne forces are honing their capabilities to respond together in crises as exercise SWIFT RESPONSE 24 ramps up across Europe from the Baltics to the Balkans.

13,000 troops from 17 nations are participating in the month long exercise. In Estonia, the British Army’s Global Response Force, 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, is leading a force of more than 2,300 soldiers, sailors and aviators from four countries.

Britain’s elite Pathfinders (one seen here early this morning) are tasked with marking drop zones and RAL airstrips in Estonia during SWIFT RESPONSE 2024 [© Bob Morrison]

The UK’s 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment Battlegroup Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Mans, said that the training had given his soldiers “a huge degree of realism and pressure” and praised their “controlled aggression and focus”.

“From Estonia, we do not need to look very far to see real battles being fought in trenches,” said Mans. “We need to develop, maintain, and excel at operating in these conditions.”

“But also, the more we do at this scale and complexity, the better prepared we are for any environment. Training builds relationships, we learn how we react under pressure, and understand what our capabilities are to make the battlegroup as effective as possible, whatever it is asked to do,” Mans added.

British Army Air Corps AH-64E Apache helicopters flew over the Baltic from Finland today to support the Paras in Estonia [© Bob Morrison]

Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE is part of STEADFAST DEFENDER 24. STEADFAST DEFENDER is NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War, which involves approximately 90,000 troops from all 32 NATO nations.

Brigadier Mark Perry, commanding 16 Air Assault BCT, and Brigadier Giles Harris, commanding NATO eFP Battle Group Estonia, answering national media questions on the edge of Nurmsi DZ, 10 May 2024 [© Bob Morrison]

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