Rapid deployment force trains for joint defence

The scent of coffee is palpable in the tent, some of the soldiers are sitting and preparing visits, others plan the events of the coming days. Exercise 'Sydstorm' is beginning to take shape. It is an exercise that will prepare the unit for Nordic Battlegroup.

On 1 January 2015, Nordic Battlegroup (NBG) will be ready for operations for the EU. The goal is for the EU to reinforce peace through joint actions. In order to be able to quickly deploy to various conflict zones, the EU has combat groups, known as battlegroups. Within ten days of an EU decision, NBG is to be on location in a crisis zone, within a 6,000 kilometre radius of Brussels, and it should be able to accomplish its mission within 30-120 days.

"To be able to train these components together, we have to be in the same place. That's why everyone has come here. Another important factor in training together is that everyone gets to know one another. All cooperation works much better with familiarity," says Lieutenant Colonel Jonas Nilsson, Commanding Officer of the Core Battalion, a component unit of NBG.

Hoping for a mission

During the year, the units will exercise their capabilities in relation to the requirements set by the EU.  Exercise 'Sydstorm' is one of those exercises, which also involves other sections of P 7. Normally, Marcus Edlund is Chief of Staff for the P 7 Staff and Logistics Platoon, but he is now part of NBG. Today he is participating with NBG in exercise 'Sydstorm' and has been stationed with the guard next to the combat tank garage with the spring sun warming his face. He has been with the Swedish Armed Forces since 1999 but has never been on a mission. He hopes that the NBG force will be deployed.

"Now we just want to stop training and do something in a real-life situation, make a difference," he says.

Marcus Edlund has declined foreign missions before but he would not hesitate for a second today.

"I would say yes right away if I was asked, I want to go and do something good. I would prefer to go on a mission to Africa or on another peace-keeping mission," he says.

Important to train

Jonas Nilsson, Commanding Officer of the Core Battalion, explains the importance of this exercise.

"The goal is to train the battalion together, to successfully complete the evaluation and to ensure that all new materiel systems function. But the most important thing is that we exercise the personnel we have and their professional attitude. With their help, we will be able to complete the tasks and resolve any problems that may arise," says Jonas Nilsson.