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Ejército de tierra
Ministerio de Defensa
Ejército de tierra

Ejército de Tierra


martes 30 de mayo de 2017

Número: 46

Destination: Latvia

The 11th Extremadura Brigade cannot hide it, they are elated. The availability cycle has given them a great chance: to be the first unit in the Spanish Army to provide the contingent for the new NATO mission in Latvia. This includes opening the scenario, which brings with it pride and great responsibility, for which they will bring the Leopardo and Pizarro combat vehicles, marking the first time that these vehicles will be used away from Spanish soil.

Extremadura Brigade extra motivation. For previous missions, they had to prepare using vehicles like the Lynx or the RG-31, which they didn’t have in their brigade. However, for Latvia, they will be taking the vehicles that they train with everyday, 3,500 kilometres away from Spain.

With the use of their own vehicles, the situation will be demanding. Their equipment will have to work to the maximum, and there will be no room for error.

Destination Latvia, Deployment map.

Map of the deployment in Latvia


Leopardo combat tank in action.

Leopardo combat tank in action. Photo: DECET

The contingent includes military police

Military Police. Photo:DECET


 The 11th Brigade has generated and prepared an armoured and mechanised battlegroup, which will include Pizarro vehicles, brought by the 6th Saboya Regiment, and Leopardo combat tanks. They will bring support arms equipped with mortars, missiles and Raven navigation systems. There will also be shooters, a transmissions team, a section of mechanised trenchers and an explosive devices deactivation team (EOD). Completing the team will be a logistics contingent, a military police unit, a type ROLE 1 paramedics formation, as well as senior command staff. In total, there will be more than 300 soldiers coming from all of the brigade units, including the cavalry group, the 1st “Legazpi” Battalion and the nº 67 “Tercio Viejo de Sicilia” Regiment, located in San Sebastian and integrated into the 11th Brigade after their latest organisation changes, who will bring an Anti-tank defence squad.

At the forefront of the battle group is captain De Toro, who is one of the most pleased members of the group. He is a big fan of mechanised brigades and he explains that this is a “great opportunity” and “an important professional challenge, as we will have to transport mechanised and armoured platforms and other light platforms on a VAMTAC (High Mobility Tactical Vehicle).” He is very motivated, as he will have an extraordinary team with him who will open the scenario with the Pizarros and Leopardos. Some of the team members, such as 1st Sergeants Rubio y Sosa, have spent nearly all of their professional lives working with the Pizarros and could not miss an opportunity like this. Corporal Pallero, squad leader who has been in the 11th Brigade for 14 years, also feels this way.

For Soldier Andrade, this is the first time he will work as a Pizarro driver in a mission, and he says that being with his tank and crew will feel like a dream. Soldier Horcas, a Pizarro shooter, is looking forward to seeing how other armies work. Soldier Zamora, a precision shooter, added an important point: “Latvia is going to be a new experience for us all.”



Team of Oberservers

The operation in Latvia is called "Advanced Reinforced Presence." Its aim is to control the situation on the border and prepare the terrain for a NATO rapid deloyment force, in the case of an attack from a partner country. The presence seeks to demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic agreement, "after what happened in 2008, in Georgia and, greater still, the annex of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine," in the words of the general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg.  
Soldiers from the Spanish Army will be integrated into a contingent led by Canada, which will include soldiers from Albania, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. The initial idea is that one thousand soldiers will come together and be integrated into a 3rd Batallion of the only maneuver Brigade in the Latvian army, which is in the process of mechanisation. But this will not be the only batallion to strenghten the local troops: there will be another in Tapa (Estonia), led by Great Britain; another in Rukla (Lithuania), commanded by Germany; and another in Orzysz (Polond), led by the United States.
The Alliance strategy is completed by an increased presence of combat planes from the “Baltic Air Police” mission (in which the Spanish Army participates), navy groups from the Alliance (where our navy will be integrated) and collaboration in other areas such as cyberdefence.