NATO paratroopers take over Kaunas airport in military drill

Military drill at Kaunas Airport
DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

“Paratroopers jumping in, they will land all over the runway, they will assemble, they will move out and clear objectives within the three areas in the airfield and after they clear those objectives they then hold it and set up locking positions in order to bring in more personnel,” Maribel Brown of the US 173rd Brigade said before the start of the exercise.

During the exercise, the troops acted by the scenario where the Kaunas airport has been seized by the enemy, a role performed by about 60 Lithuanian soldiers. The objective of the Allies was to take back the strategic object.

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At the beginning, a bomber took off above the airfield to neutralize the enemy’s anti-aircraft defense and enable aircrafts flying below to land 170 US and German paratroopers brought by five airplanes from the Vicenza Air Force Base in Italy.

After landing at the airfield, they performed an attack on the forces holding the airport, aiming to free the runway for an airplane with more forces.

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The operation started shortly before midnight and ended in the morning. No civil flights were scheduled at the airport during the hours.

After the exercise, the participants left for Pabradė to continue their participation in the Saber Strike 2015 exercise, which included the paratrooper part.

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Saber Strike is an annual exercise held by the US Army Europe in the Baltic states. Saber Strike 2015 is the 5th iteration of the series held in Lithuania. The part of the exercise in Lithuania will involve roughly 1,600 Lithuanian military and 1,500 troops from eight NATO countries, namely, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia and the US.

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