Turkish units departed on Monday from the Turkey-Bulgaria border to participate in the NATO exercise Steadfast Defender 2021. The convoy crossed into Bulgaria and will head to Romania to participate in the exercise.
Military personnel from the 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command headed toward the border amid anthems and applause. The exercise will take place in Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary from May 20 to June 22.
“Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 will test NATO’s readiness and military mobility – with forces deploying across land and sea, all the way from North America to the Black Sea region and off the coast of Portugal,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
“With over 9,000 troops, the exercise demonstrates that NATO has the capabilities and the resolve to protect all Allies against any threat,” he added.
This phase is led by Joint Force Command Norfolk and will include a maritime live exercise with around 5,000 forces and 18 ships, including the UK’s Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, a table-top part of the exercise will take part in Ulm, Germany. This will train and test the ability of NATO’s new Joint Support and Enabling Command to coordinate the speedy movement of Allied forces and equipment across European borders. Some 300 personnel will be involved in this part of the exercise.
In late May, NATO’s annual Noble Jump will take place under the umbrella of Steadfast Defender 2021. This will see the deployment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), led by Turkey, to Romania.
Some 4,000 troops from 12 countries will be involved. Other associated exercises will take place in the region as well.