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Turkish Troops Train with NATO Allies in Romania

Troops from Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US test their readiness at NATO exercise Steadfast Defender 2021.

May 27, 2021

Troops from Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US who serve with NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) are currently taking part in exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 in Romania. The soldiers have undertaken a variety of drills to test their readiness and improve their interoperability. Steadfast Defender 2021 is a NATO-led exercise involving over 9,000 troops from more than 20 NATO Allies and partners. The first part of the exercise is reinforcement by sea. It focuses on improving NATO’s ability to protect and defend the Atlantic Ocean and specifically the strategic lines of communication, which enable transatlantic reinforcement by North American allies.

  • The maritime exercise is led by Joint Force Command Norfolk, which is a new command based in Virginia.
  • Twenty ships, a submarine and 60 aircraft will exercise off the coast of Portugal. It includes the United Kingdom’s HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Lockheed Martin F-35B fifth generation combat aircraft.
  • The second part of the exercise is reinforcement by land. Led by NATO’s Joint Support and Enabling Command based in Ulm, Germany. It is a command post exercise focused on enabling a safe and secure transit of military forces through Allied nations.
  • The final part of the exercise is a regular deployment called Noble Jump. It tests NATO’s rapid reaction forces and involves the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The VJTF is the spearhead military unit within NATO, and the first to respond to a crisis.
  • This year some 4,000 troops from 12 countries will be involved. Both Romania and Poland have hosted this exercise in the past.

Steadfast Defender 2021 officially began on May 12 and ends June 22 in Romania.

About Steadfast Defender 2021

Steadfast Defender 2021 is a collective defence exercise based on an Article 5 scenario. The exercise will enhance Alliance security by maintaining NATO’s broad range of interoperability and military capabilities to deter potential adversaries and assure Allies of NATO’s ability to defend them. The geographical locations of the exercise and the scale of deployment across sea, land, air and the range of military capabilities involved reflect NATO’s resolve to deter, and where necessary, to confront and defeat, potential aggressors.