Renewed: 06.05.2015, 23:39

05 May 2015 19:25

Siil/Steadfast Javelin mobilization exercise kicks off in Estonia

Siil/Steadfast Javelin mobilization exercise kicks off in Estonia Siil/Steadfast Javelin mobilization exercise kicks off in Estonia

The largest mobilisation exercise Siil/Steadfast Javelin is currently underway in Estonia after the country restored its armed forces two decades ago.

Siil/Steadfast Javelin involving over 7,000 of reserve forces and in total 13,000 troops from Estonia and Allied countries kicked off in locations all over Estonia this week and runs from May 4 to 15.

“I was pleased to see the enthusiasm among the reservists, service members, Home Guard and Allied forces when inspecting the troops,” Commander of Estonian Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Riho Terras said.

According to Terras the forces are now battle-ready and have completed the mobilization phase. “This demonstrates the will Estonia´s reserve soldiers have to defend their own country, but also serves as an example how the society supports the reserve-based system,” Terras added. All troops called up are now 100% manned with the overall turn-up 90%, while in some units over 110% reservists showed up. The organisers sent out more notifications to secure units are properly manned for the exercise tactical phase.

„Every participant has the duty to be thoughtful, creative and give their best contribution for the exercise to be successful. Every soldier, NCO, officer and participant matters. Let us be worthy of the exercise, as every quill counts,” Terras said, referring to the name of the exercise Siil (hedgehog).

The exercise has been in the making for three years, while building the reserve-based system has taken Estonia over 20 years. The absence at work is compensated for reservists, national institutions as well as businesses incl. international corporations like G4S, Coca-Cola, Danske Bank, Stora Enso have stepped up to provide additional compensation for their employees as part of the broad-based defence initiative.

The objective of the exercise is to test the full staging of the permanent readiness troops and additional staging of rapid response reserve units. The exercise also trains receiving of mobilized personnel. In addition, the 1st Infantry Brigade will exercise its operational capabilities as well as tactical and operational command.

Siil/Steadfast Javelin is divided in three phases: from May 4 to 8 the staging and initial training of troops, May 9 to 12 tactical training and operational activities of the 1st Infantry Brigade; May 13 to 15 ENDEX and initial maintenance of the equipment.

The equipment used during the exercise features APCs, artillery units, air defence systems, combat engineering and transport and support vehicles. The U.S. M1A2 Abrams tanks, Polish attack aircraft SU-22, four United Kingdom Eurofighter Typhoons, currently participating in the NATO Balitic Air Policing mission as well as additional Hawks and U.S. attack aircraft A-10.

Siil/Steadfast Javelin main training areas are in Lääne and Ida Viru, Tartu and Võru Counties (Võrtsjärve, Kanepi, Nursipalu areas). Most of the field training during the phase will take place in Virumaa, particularly in Lääne-Viru County Vinni, Väike-Maarja, Laekvere and Rägavere parishes and in Ida-Viru County Jõhvi, Kohtla, Mäetaguse, Lüganuse and Sonda parishes. The final roll-call of the exercise is held in Tapa Airfield. Exercise logistic support is coordinated from Eametsa, Pärnu.

Siil/Steadfast Javelin is the biggest exercise in the Baltic Sea region this year and focuses on training the Estonian infantry brigade in ground operations, but will also involve air operations.

With the past years Estonia has made substantial investments in defence and maintains the NATO required 2% GDP spending. Siil/Steadfast Javelin serves as an opportunity to assure Estonia has built well trained and equipped, capable forces prepared to defend the country with Allied units.

Over 600 Allied troops from Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands, UK and U.S. take part. OSCE is to send observers to the exercise.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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