List of NATO exercises

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercises.

Cold War (1950–1990)[edit]

Post-Cold War (1990–present)[edit]

  • Northern Viking. Annual exercise held in Iceland, every two years until 2006 when the frequency was increased. Tests capability and inter-operability of forces. Includes naval vessels, fighter planes and helicopters from multiple countries. Size example: involved transfer of 400 foreign troops to iceland in 2008.
  • Joint Warrior. Ongoing since sometime in the Cold War. Up to 13,000 personnel. Airborne assaults, amphibious landings, counter-insurgency, counter-piracy and interstate war. Held in UK. Currently done twice a year (as of 2022).
  • Frisian Flag. Major aerial exercise in Netherlands. Annual, first held 1992. Uses about 70 aircraft. Eg about 1000 personnel in 2018.
  • Unified Vision. Twice-yearly exercise which began in 2012 to test advanced defense systems at the Ørland Main Air Station in Norway.[6]
  • BALTOPS Annual US-led maritime exercise in Germany and the Baltic Sea. Participating countries include Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden.


  • Baltic Challenge. Naval.


  • Baltic Challenge. Naval.


  • Battle Griffin. 20,000 soldiers. 16 February to 3 March in Norway. Land, sea, air and Home Guard Forces from 8 NATO countries (Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) participated.[7]


  • Cold Response: Took place in Norway in March, involving 10,000 troops from 11 countries under Norwegian leadership.


  • Cold Response. Norwegian-led, in Norway 16–25 March.
  • Cooperative 09. 1100 troops; held in Georgia.
  • Loyal Arrow 09. Largest military exercise ever held in Sweden, involving 900 ground troops, 50 aircraft, and a British aircraft carrier with 1000 sailors onboard.


  • Cold Response. 9,000 troops from 14 countries. Norwegian-led in Norway 17 Feb - 4 March.


  • Cold Response. 16,000 troops. Norwegian-led in Norway in March.


  • Cold Response. More than 16,000 troops. Norwegian-led in Norway in March.
  • Atlantic Resolve. Four companies of U.S. forces (about 150 troops each) rotate continuously throughout the year, deployed in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. Also U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller from the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron out of Vilseck, Germany.


  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons and U.K. Royal Air Force "Task Force Brawler" operate in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
  • Dragoon Ride. Small operation connected with Atlantic Resolve.
  • Spring Storm (Siil, Hedgehog). 13,000 troops including 7,000 reservists. Article 5-type scenario in Estonia in May.[8]



  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons, U.S. 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, a U.S. Army Aviation Brigade of 400 soldiers and, also from the U.S., 3500 army troops, 87 tanks and 144 Bradley Fighting Vehicles operated in Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
  • Rapid Trident. 2500 personnel, including Canadian. Location: Ukraine.


  • Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. 50,000 troops. Held in Trøndelag, Oppland and Hedmark, Norway mainly in October–November. Stated purpose was to train the NATO Response Force.
  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons, a U.S. Army Aviation Brigade and a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team operated in Eastern Europe.


  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons, a U.S. Army Aviation Brigade and a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team operated in Eastern Europe.
  • Iron Spear (7 October—13 October). Hosted in Latvia, 28 tank crews from eight countries take part in maneuvering, targeting and shooting exercises.[12]


In 2020, NATO conducted 88 of 113 planned NATO exercises, the reduction in number being due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NATO countries also held 176 other national and multinational exercises.[13] The exerises included the following:

  • DEFENDER-Europe 20. U.S.-led multinational exercise including NATO participation. Included 20,000 soldiers deployed directly from the U.S. to Europe.[14]
  • Dynamic Mongoose 20. NATO-led. 29 June to 10 July 2020 in the High North. Ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from six Allied nations (France, Germany, Norway, UK, Canada and U.S.) exercised off the coast of Iceland for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare training.[15]
  • Cold Response. Suspended due to the pandemic.
  • Bomber Task Force. Strategic bomber mission held since 2018 for U.S. integration with NATO allies.[16]
  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons, a U.S. Army Aviation Brigade and a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team operated in Eastern Europe.
  • Iron Spear (10 October—15 October). Hosted in Latvia, 44 armored fighting vehicles representing twelve countries take part in an armored gunnery competition.[17]

Six U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived at RAF Fairford, England on 22 August 2020 for a planned training mission where the aircraft conducted theater and flight training across Europe and Africa.[18]

On 4 September, the American B-52s entered the airspace of Ukraine for the first time in history, where they made a long flight along the borders of the Crimean peninsula.[19]

On 25 September, two U.S. bombers staged a mock attack run on Kaliningrad, a Russian semi-exclave on the Baltic between Poland and Lithuania, where Russia moved nuclear-capable missiles in 2018.[20] The flight path allowed the bombers effectively to fly a circle around Kaliningrad. The simulated raid on the region was a test case of neutralizing Russian missile systems.[21]

Altogether, in August–September 2020, two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft, integrated with Norwegian F-35 and F-16 fighter aircraft as well as Norwegian frigates, flew over international waters in the vicinity of the Norwegian Sea.[22]


In 2021, NATO expected to conduct 95 NATO exercises and NATO countries were expected to conduct 220 other national and multinational exercises.[13] The NATO exercises were to include 24 land-focused exercises, 24 air exercises, 9 maritime exercises and 20 multi-domain exercises. Other exercises were to be conducted to train specific functions such as cyber defence, crisis response decision-making, Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear defense, logistics, communications and medical activities. The exercises included the following:

Soldiers from the Rapid Response Forces Division in the NATO exercise GREEN GRIFFIN 21 on Oct. 4, 2021 at Lehnin, Germany. GREEN GRIFFIN is an annual NATO training exercise of NATO allies and partner forces. The exercise involved elements from the U.S. Army's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the Bundeswehr's Rapid Response Forces Division, the Netherlands Air Force, and the Romanian Army's Mechanized Brigade.
  • Griffin Force I 2021. Training of land component of NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in enablement and rapid military mobility, 18–20 January in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.[13]
  • Defender-Europe 21. 30,000 troops.[23] Mid-March through June. Included "nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas" in Albania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo and other countries.[24][25]
  • Locked Shields 21. "One of the world's largest and most complex live cyber defence exercises, hosted annually by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence... The exercise simulates responding to a massive cyber incident, and includes strategic decision-making, legal and communication aspects. Held 1–30 April in Estonia.[13]
  • CAPABLE DEPLOYER 2021 – NATO Allied Force Interoperability Exercise. Romania, 2 May to 23 May. Planned and coordinated by the Multinational Logistics Center.
  • Wind Spring 21. Romania, 2 May to 27 May. Joint and multinational NATO military operations.
  • Ramstein Ambition 21 – The NATO Electronic Warfare Force Integration Programme with regional elements of NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence System conducted through the Combined Air Operation Centre (CAOC), which took place between 3 May and 14 May.[26][27]
  • Spring Storm. 14,000 troops, 11 May to 31 May in Estonia. "A large live exercise of the Estonian Defence Forces with participation from NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups and other Allied forces."[13]
  • Breeze 21. Live exercise led by Bulgarian Navy from 11–19 July. Size: around 2500 people.[13]
  • Iron Wolf II 21. 4000 troops. Live exercise, 1–26 November in Lithuania to train NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence.[13]
  • Atlantic Resolve. Several U.S. fighter squadrons, a U.S. Army Aviation Brigade and a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team operated in Eastern Europe.
  • Cold Response. Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[28]


  • Neptune Strike 22 started in late January with aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and its battle group coming under NATO command for patrolling exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.[29][30]
  • Cold Response 2022. 30,000 participants from 27 countries. Norwegian-led in Norway starting 14 March expected to end in April.[31][32]
  • Iron Spear (8 May—11 May). Hosted in Latvia, 15 teams of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from seven countries take part in an exercise to demonstrate NATO firepower and interoperability.[33][34]
  • Northern Coasts (29 August—28 September): longer than usual[35]
  • Steadfast Noon (17 October—30 October). NATO nuclear deterrence exercise involving 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft. As in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part; this year, they will fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom.[36][37]


  • Air Defender 2023[38].


  1. ^ Baldwin, Hanson (28 September 1952). "Navies Meet the Test in Operation Mainbrace". New York Times: E7. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
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  3. ^ Flight, A Battle Royal with an Atomic Accent, 1 October 1954
  4. ^ a b c "Emergency Call". Time. 30 September 1957. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ Hanson W Baldwin, 22 September 1957. "100 Fighting Ships in Vast Exercise". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2009. nytimes
  6. ^ Staff. Press release. (19 June 2018). "Unified Vision 2018 tests interoperability and new technologies". NATO website Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  7. ^ NATO News
  8. ^ European Leadership Network, "NATO and NATO-related exercises conducted since 2014 in Central Europe and adjacent areas"
  9. ^ a b c d AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. April 2016. p. 8.
  10. ^ Duval Smith, Alex (7 June 2016). "Nato countries begin largest war game in eastern Europe since cold war". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Polish-led Exercise Anakonda 2016 a huge success". Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe | NATO. 17 June 2016. Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Lynx 6: Victory of Leclerc tank at NATO combined exercise Iron Spear". Army Recognition. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Key NATO and Allied Exercises in 2021
  14. ^ "Home".
  15. ^ "NATO maritime exercise Dynamic Mongoose ends in the High North".
  16. ^ "U.S. Air Force B-52s return to Europe for ally, partner training". DVIDS. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Iron Spear 2020". NATO Multinational Corps Northeast. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  18. ^ "U.S. Air Force B-52s return to Europe for ally, partner training". 501st Combat Support Wing. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  19. ^ Trevithick, Joseph. "B-52 Bombers Fly Unprecedented Patrol Along Edge Of Russian-Controlled Territory In Ukraine (Updated)". The Drive. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Russia deploys Iskander nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad: RIA". Reuters.
  21. ^ Axe, David. "U.S. Air Force B-52s Just Flew A Mock Bombing Run On Russia's Baltic Fortress". Forbes. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  22. ^ USAFE-AFAFRICA [@HQUSAFEAFAF] (3 September 2020). ""Yesterday, marks 18 completed out of 18 planned #BomberTaskForce missions since Aug 22...this milestone proves the @usairforce's ability to project sustainable long-range strike in support of our #allies & against our adversaries across the globe." Read:" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 10 October 2022. Retrieved 26 December 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Massive, Army-led NATO exercise Defender Europe kicks off". Army Times. 15 March 2021.
  25. ^ "NATO, US to stage large-scale military exercises around Serbia until summer". Euractiv. 22 March 2021.
  26. ^ "NATO Allied Air Command Starts Exercise Ramstein Ambition 21". Allied Air Command | NATO. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  27. ^ "Ramstein Ambition 2021 Concludes After Successful Execution". Allied Air Command | NATO. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  28. ^ "Norway cancels Cold Response due to coronavirus outbreak".
  29. ^ Staff. Press release. (24 January 2022). "US carrier strike group comes under NATO command in the Mediterranean". NATO website Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  30. ^ "NATO Concludes Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 2022".
  31. ^ "Exercise Cold Response 2022 – NATO and partner forces face the freeze in Norway".
  32. ^ "Cold Response 2022".
  33. ^ "NATO enhanced forward presence battle groups to demonstrate firepower in exercise "IRON SPEAR"". Latvian National Armed Forces. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  34. ^ "NATO kicks off Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 2022.2".
  35. ^ "Erhöhte Nato-Flottenpräsenz in der Ostsee". (in German).
  36. ^ "NATO's annual nuclear exercise gets underway". NATO. 14 October 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  37. ^ "NATO Steadfast Noon Exercise and Nuclear Modernization in Europe".
  38. ^ [1]