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Home > UK Operations > Op CABRIT ~ France Boosts Leclerc MBT Contribution – Updated

Op CABRIT ~ France Boosts Leclerc MBT Contribution – Updated

French Operation LYNX armour on a previous NATO eFP mission in Estonia [©Bob Morrison]

Over the next few days France will boost the UK-led Op CABRIT eFP mission in Estonia by increasing its Leclerc main battle tank contribution, reports Bob Morrison.

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A few days ago the British Point-class fast sealift ship MV Eddystone departed La Pallice dockyard near La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic Coast bound for Paldiski in Estonia; when last verified, at 15:00GMT today, she was already in the Baltic Sea due south of Malmo in Sweden.

MV Eddystone unloading British Army vehicles in Antwerp, February 2020 [©Bob Morrison]

Aboard Eddystone, in addition to an undisclosed number of British Army vehicles, is the French LYNX 9 SGTIA (Sous-Groupement Tactique InterArmes or All-Arms Tactical Sub-Group) vehicle fleet consisting of:-

  • 12x Leclerc Main Battle Tanks
  • 2x EGB Armoured Engineer Vehicles
  • 2x DCL Armoured Recovery Vehicles
  • 8x VBCI 8×8 Armoured Personnel Carriers
  • 21x VBL 4×4 Scout Cars
  • 6x PEB Tank Transporters
  • 7x PPLOG 8×8 demountable rack logistic trucks
LYNX 9 Infographic [©French MoD]

When deployed on previous NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) attachment to the British Army’s Operation CABRIT mission in Estonia, the French contingent took roughly half the number of tanks but twice the number of APCs as this time. The forthcoming LYNX 9 deployment, which has been expanded to twelve months duration with four three-month roulements of personnel making up the constant 300-strong contingent, appears to consist of one infantry company and two platoons of five tanks (with two more in reserve) plus Engineer, Recce and Logistic support.

French DCL Armoured Recovery Vehicle on a previous NATO eFP mission in Estonia [©Bob Morrison]
French Leclerc main battle tanks in Latvia on a previous Operation LYNX NATO eFP deployment
[©Bob Morrison]
Library image of sister Point-class sealift ship MV Hurst Point, off Vlore in Albania [©Bob Morrison]

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French Leclerc MBT disembarking MV Eddystone in Paldiski [Estonian Defence Forces: Ardi Hallismaa]

EDF Press Release, Tallinn, 18 March 2021: French and UK Army vehicles and equipment arrived by sea into an Estonian port on Wednesday 17 March 2021 to support the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup based in the country.

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