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What are NATO's Trident Juncture war games?

October 25, 2018

For two weeks NATO will be flexing its muscles in the harsh conditions of Norway. Some 50,000 participants will engage in a simulated invasion of Norway from an unnamed aggressor.

American Assault Amphibious Vehilcle ( AAV ) of the US Marine Corps on winter exercise
Image: Forsvaret/Torbjørn Kjosvold

What is Trident Juncture 2018?

The exercise is NATO's biggest military maneuver since the end of the Cold War.

From October 25 to November 7, participants from all 29 NATO members, as well as Finland and Sweden, will engage in war games in Norway, the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.

What is the scale?

The exercise involves around 50,000 participants, including 20,000 land forces, 24,000 navy personnel, 3,500 air personnel, 1,000 logistics specialist, and 1,300 personnel from various NATO commands.

It includes 250 aircraft, 65 ships, up to 10,000 vehicles. The so-called Super Puma helicopters and the F/A-18 Hornet jets will be deployed in the exercises.

Germany's Bundeswehr provides 10,000 troops, and 4,000 vehicles as well as jets and frigates, making it the second-largest contingent in the exercise, behind the United States.

What is the objective?

The operation aims to test NATO's abilities to defend itself, deter potential adversaries, and work cohesively.

The whole operation underscores NATO's commitment to Article 5 on "collective defense," which dictates that an attack on one member is an attack on all members.

How does it work?

The forces will be split into two opposing groups: the North force and the South force. The northern force will attack the southern force, supported by an amphibious operation. Then, in a scripted response, the southern force will carry out a counter-attack.

The land and amphibious forces will be supported by air and maritime forces, also split into two groups.

The field exercises are followed by a test of the command center capabilities using computer simulations.

NATO´s Trident Juncture

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