Military staff from 13 NATO Allies and Partners are preparing their participation in exercise Nordic Response 2024, part of the Steadfast Defender exercise series, in Norway, Finland and Sweden, Report informs, citing NATO.

The exercise will be hosted by the three Nordic countries and will focus on collective defence. Overall, more than 20,000 soldiers are participating in the exercise. Exercise participants are deploying their personnel and equipment to the exercise area, and the Nordic Response execution phase will run from March 3 to 14, 2024.

The exercise will have its focal point in northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as in the corresponding airspace and sea areas. There will be particularly high activity at sea with over 50 registered submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carriers, and various amphibious vessels.

In the air, more than 100 fighter jets, transport aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft, as well as Allied helicopters and Special Forces aircraft will operate under Nordic Response 24. On the ground, thousands of soldiers will defend and protect Nordic territory with various artillery systems, tanks, tracked vehicles, and other land vehicles.

The combined joint training will focus on the defence and protection of the Nordic Region. “We need to be able to fight back and stop anyone who tries to challenge our borders, values and democracy – with the current security situation in Europe, the exercise is extremely relevant and more important than ever before,” said Brigadier Tron Strand, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Commander of the Norwegian Air Operations Centre.”

“We all need to know the terrain and conditions we operate in. This is fresh knowledge that we need to practise regularly,” Brigadier General Strand continued. “Exercise Cold Response has a long history and takes place in Northern Norway every other year. Thanks to the NATO accession of Finland – and eventually Sweden – we are now expanding the exercise to a Nordic Response with wider participation from other Allies,” he added.