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NOBLE JUMP 2023 VJTF Live-Fire Finale

Troops from Norway's Telemark Battalion clear a trench complex in Sardinia ~ red flags denote live weapons [© Bob Morrison]

The NATO VJTF multinational deployment exercise, NOBLE JUMP 2023, peaked today with 75-minute live-fire finale at Teulada in Sardinia, reports Bob Morrison.

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In bright sunshine under a near cloudless sky over the superb south-west Sardinian training area, elements of NATO’s German-led multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) first delayed a conventional attacking force and then pushed them back to the sea. In addition to mechanised and armoured infantry formations, supported by live-firing Leopard 2 main battle tanks and Tiger helicopters, Special Forces and Paratrooper teams inserted from A400M Atlas transport aircraft to secure the battlegroup’s flanks as it mounted its counter-attack. From our vantage point (both Carl, in Bundeswehr uniform, and myself were in attendance) on high ground and in front of the visiting Generals and VIPs, the demo appeared to run faultlessly.

German Special Forces HALO jump from an A400M over Teulada training area at the start of the NOJU23 JAPDD in Sardinia [© BM]
German Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks during a live-fire battle run on Teulada training area [© BM]
German Tiger attack helicopter supporting the armoured counter-attack [© BM]

The VJTF 2023 GBAD (Ground Based Air Defence) formation, which consists of German and Dutch personnel with both tracked and MANPAD Stinger system, was unable to participate in today’s live-fire at Teulada as the range is not cleared for this activity, but I was permitted to join them yesterday at Capo San Lorenzo range on the island’s east coast to watch them being put through their paces. As always with live missile firing, range safety prevents us getting too close, but my German and Italian hosts laid on an excellent vantage point for the shoulder-launched firing, allowing me to capture a few good shots.

Luxembourg Army observation drone team after the display ~ watch out for a forthcoming Kit & Camo feature [© BM]

The past week has vanished in the blink of an eye and I have been kept so busy with travelling and photographing that there has not been a lot of spare time for writing. Additionally, once back in the UK I will need to turn round again almost immediately, stopping only to change my Shreddies (those who know, know, but millennials might be too young to understand) for two more back-to-back assignments in different countries. However once I get a little bit of time in front of a proper computer terminal, instead of having to use a lightweight netbook that fits in my carry-on luggage camera bag, I hope to bring a lot more photos and some interesting NOJU23 stories to these pages.

Netherlands VJTF MANPAD team fires a Stinger at Capo San Lorenzo air defence range [© BM]

[images © Bob Morrison]

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