Armed Forces

Abrams MBTs to be deployed to Poland, Trophy APS to be tested at the German firing range

Image Credit: cpt. Błażej Łukaszewski
Image Credit: cpt. Błażej Łukaszewski

The US Army is working towards deployment of troops of an armoured battalion who, using the MBTs stored in Europe, would then carry out training in Poland. The scenario also assumes the set up of the Trophy active protection systems - at the German Bergen-Hohne firing range.

The exercise is going to involve around 550 troops, mainly from the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Brigade Combat Team belonging to the 1st Cavalry Division. The soldiers would carry out the so-called Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE), aimed at verification of deployment readiness.

EDRE is to last from 14th July until 22nd August. Within the framework of that exercise, the US troops would also go to Germany where Abrams tanks from the Army Prepositioned Stock would be waiting for them at the Bergen-Hohne range. Army Prepositioned Stock is a system of strategic storage facilities allowing for keeping equipment ready for the US troops deployed to Europe within the framework of reinforcement.

The exercise is going to test the functioning of the Army Prepositioned Stock system. This is especially relevant for Poland, as the troops would go to the Drawsko Pomorskie range right after manning the MBTs. There, a live-fire exercise has been scheduled. One should remember that a similar Army Prepositioned Stock facility is being established in Powidz. Thanks to the above, the Americans will be able to store equipment for two brigades in Europe.

The Polish Ministry of Defence also announced that the 17th Mechanized Brigade and 12th Mechanized Brigade would be involved in the exercise as well. Meanwhile, the forward US Army Division Command in Poznan (with staff provided by the 1st Cavalry Division) is going to act as a training command. Everything is also going to be supervised by the Grafenwoehr-based 7th Army Training Command.

The exercise also envisages the installation of the Trophy APS systems on the MBTs (as the US Army Europe Command has said, the tests of Trophy will take place at Bergen-Hohne range - not in Poland). The purpose of this system is to physically act against the enemy ATGMs and anti-tank grenades. The system developed by Rafael (Leonardo DRS acting as the integrator on the US market) has been procured to meet the urgent operational requirement to protect the tank crews from Russian ATGMs. The system has already been spotted on some of the Abrams MBTs, during the Saber Strike 2018 exercise in Poland.

The Americans stress the fact that installing the Trophy system during the exercise is aimed at verifying the capacity of the supply chain and to find any obstacles that could prevent the setup of this system in field conditions. They also note that the scenario of the exercise takes into account the COVID-19-related safety measures.

The deployment exercise is tied to the last phase of the training undertaken within the framework of Defender Europe-20. The scope of that training has been limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the delays, the Americans are willing to verify the functioning of the Army Prepositioned Stock system, and they are also driven to install active protection systems on the MBTs stored there. This means that support for the NATO eastern flank will continue.