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NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup uparmours in Latvia

19 August 2019
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Ariete MBT live firing during Exercise ‘Reaper Prime’ in the Camp Adaži training area. Source: Italian MoD

NATO's Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup in Latvia has received armour reinforcements from Italy and the United States in the last month, doubling the number of main battle tanks (MBTs) it possesses, albeit temporarily.

The Latvian National Armed Forces announced on their website on 15 August that 70 soldiers and 12 M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams MBTs of the 2nd Battalion, 34th Regiment, 1st Brigade of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division have arrived at Camp Ādaži as part of the current rotation of Operation 'Atlantic Resolve'. The US armoured unit will stay in Latvia for about two months to train with the National Armed Forces and the eFP battlegroup.

In addition, the Italian army has deployed Ariete MBTs for the first time as part of its latest rotation, the eFP battlegroup public affairs office confirmed to Jane's on 16 August. The Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) website showed Ariete and Dardo infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) during Exercise 'Reaper Prime' in the Camp Ādaži training area at the beginning of August. The latest Italian eFP contingent is drawn from the 1st Bersaglieri Regiment, plus the 4th Armoured Regiment and other army units.

Spain has been deploying Leopard 2E MBTs since its first rotation as part of the NATO eFP battlegroup in Latvia in 2017. The NATO eFP battlegroup in Latvia posted video on its Facebook page on 19 August of Spanish Leopard 2E and US Abrams tanks exercising in the Camp Ādaži training area.

Poland has been deploying PT-91 MBTs as part of the NATO eFP battlegroup in Latvia since 2017. The current rotation consists of a 170-strong PT-91 company with 14 tanks from the 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade.

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