German allies airdropped into Lithuania operation

German allies airdropped into Lithuania operation

An approx. 200-strong German air assault force airdropped into an area near Gaižiūnai training range (Jonava region) on the morning of May 9 as part of international Exercise Swift Response currently running in Europe. Troops of the Rapid Response Force Division, Division Schnelle Kräfte, flew in directly from Germany aboard two A400M Atlas strategic airlift planes of the German Air Force.

Approx. 9 thousand military personnel from 17 NATO allies are conducting concurrent airdrop operations across five locations in Europe according to the scenario of ongoing annual exercise Swift Response. Troops are re-deployed from their permanent bases to exercise sites in Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and North Macedonia with weaponry and equipment.

Exercise Swift Response actions began in Lithuania last week with operational planning, coordination and reconnaissance training. The German force that has just airdropped into Lithuania will be responsible for the security of the runway at Gaižiūnai training area  to enable deployment of follow-on forces, additional approx. 300 troops with vehicles, weaponry and logistical support. Members of the German-Dutch Air Assault Battalion will complete the re-deployment, transfer the responsibility for the area to Lithuanian and NATO enhanced Forward Presence forces training at Exercise Iron Wolf 2022-I, and return to their permanent base in Germany by the end of the week.

Exercise Swift Response enhances re-deployment readiness and airborne interoperability, it is conducted by the United States Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) and led by the Southern European Task Force (SETAF). The Division Schnelle Kräfte Air Assault Battalion training in Lithuania is subordinated to the 6th Airborne Brigade of the Polish Armed Forces, the higher command to the units deploying to train in Swift Response in Latvia as well, for the exercise.

Photo credits: Sgt Spc 1st Class Ieva Budzeikaitė