Steadfast Defender 2024. 90,000 NATO soldiers start exercises. The biggest since the Cold War

, 22:11, 19.01.2024
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

NATO has launched "Steadfast Defender 2024," its most extensive military maneuvers since the Cold War, involving over 90,000 soldiers, 50+ ships, and 80+ fighter jets.

Steadfast Defender 2024. 90,000 NATO soldiers start exercises. The biggest since the Cold War

The monumental "Steadfast Defender 2024" exercises, heralded as the most extensive NATO maneuvers since the conclusion of the Cold War, have commenced with the explicit aim of not only showcasing the Alliance's unity but also underlining its tangible and operational preparedness.

Drawing a historical parallel, the scale of these exercises harkens back to the 1988 "Reforger" maneuvers, which engaged a formidable 125,000 participants. In comparison, the more recent "Trident Juncture" exercises in 2018 involved approximately 50,000 individuals.

The ongoing NATO exercises, slated to run until May, incorporate a staggering 90,000 soldiers, over 50 ships - ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers - more than 80 fighter jets, helicopters, drones, and a formidable array of over 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles.

Steadfast Defender 2024. 90,000 NATO soldiers start exercises

Elements of ultra-modern combat in a coalition setup

At the heart of these maneuvers lies a primary objective: the meticulous rehearsal of NATO's response mechanisms to potential Russian aggression against neighboring countries. This strategic initiative gains added significance in the context of recent geopolitical developments, particularly in light of Russian actions in Ukraine under the leadership of Vladimir Putin.

A noteworthy component of these exercises is the "Dragon-24" operation, wherein 15,000 Polish soldiers collaborate seamlessly with several thousand counterparts from allied nations. This coalition includes the military forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Turkey, and Albania.

This joint operation spans various branches of the armed forces, encompassing special forces, territorial defense units, air forces, and navies. The exercises encompass a spectrum of military domains—land, air, and sea—and feature an arsenal of weaponry, including the formidable Abrams and K2 tanks, Chunmoo and HIMARS launchers, and Krab and K9 gun howitzers.

The intricately planned exercises cover a broad spectrum, ranging from regrouping and establishing defensive positions to intricate air and sea maneuvers, river fording, and the simulation of cyber and electromagnetic warfare scenarios. Notably, the focus extends beyond conventional military aspects, emphasizing the enhancement of interoperability.

This includes linguistic understanding, the establishment of common procedures, and the unification of communication systems and frequencies among the 31 participating countries, each equipped with diverse military hardware.

Steadfast Defender 2024. 90,000 NATO soldiers start exercises

Show of allied solidarity

Beyond their military significance, these exercises carry profound political weight. They serve as a tangible demonstration of allied solidarity and readiness, conveying a resolute commitment to the defense of both territory and citizens.

Importantly, the exercises are not merely a grand display of NATO's military prowess; rather, they signify a proactive stance towards preventing situations akin to the ongoing complexities in Ukraine. They underscore the strategic importance of regular and comprehensive preparedness to navigate potential future challenges on the international stage.


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