Anakonda-16 Military Exercise Begins. Largest Exercise Organized in Poland Since 1989

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Yesterday, the multinational Anakonda 2016 exercise has begun within the territory of Poland. The operation involves around 31 thousand soldiers. This is the largest exercise of this type that has been organized by the Polish Army since 1989. Its scope involves operations that would be undertaken, should NATO be forced to defend the territory of Poland. The Polish Armed Forces have deployed more than 12 thousand soldiers to take part in the operation. Most of the allied force elements come from the United States.

Anakonda is the first exercise in the history of the Polish NATO membership, which is so complex, and which covers a defensive operation carried out in an allied setting. Not only do the elements of the exercise involve operations within the training ranges or deployments, but also command shift, from domestic to allied structures, is going to be a part of the event. The scenario also assumes that a hybrid threat exists. Movement of the forces in a situation, when cybernetic disruption is present is also going to be realized.

Within the framework of the operation, an attack against a simulated S400 SAM site is planned, along with parachute drops, and river crossing operations. Moreover, anti-aircraft systems live fire training is also going to be organized. 1st Armoured Brigade of the 3rd US Army Division is going to be one of the main allied elements involved in the exercise, using, inter alia, the M1A2 Abrams tanks and Bradley IFVs. The Americans have also sent motorized, airborne and air defence units (including VSHORAD elements of the National Guard) to take part in the operations, within the territory of Poland.

Read more: Heavy Equipment Headed East – Anakonda Exercise as a Test of NATO Mobility.

Anakonda-16 constitutes the sixth edition of the exercise, involving the representatives of the Polish Armed Forces. 12,000 Polish troops are participating in the initiative, along with soldiers hailing from 23 allied and partner nations; including 18 NATO member states. According to the estimates, the following detachments were to take part in the operation: USA (13,900 troops), Great Britain (1,200), Spain (250), Germany (several hundred), Croatia (198), Bulgaria (180), Canada (175), Lithuania (140), Albania (125), Slovenia (110), Turkey (100), Hungary (100), Slovakia (100), Latvia (80), the Netherlands (70), Czech Republic (25) and Estonia (4), along with soldiers hailing from five countries of the Partnership for Peace: Macedonia (165), Sweden (130), Georgia (120), Ukraine (35) and Finland, along with 600 soldiers of the MNC-NE and 180 coming from LANDCOM.

The goal of the exercise is to integrate the interoperability of the national and allied commands and elements, within the framework of a collective defensive operation carried out in a hybrid warfare setting. Moreover, the system and procedures regarding the realization of the tasks, when acting as a host nation are also an aspect which is being thoroughly verified.

The exercise is going to be carried out at 7 main locations in an international command structure, involving four components: land, air, naval and special forces. Around 31,500 soldiers are going to be involved in the operation, in total. The material resources involved include 3,000 vehicles, 105 aircraft and 12 naval vessels.