Forces from a number of NATO countries are preparing to deploy significant numbers of soldiers, vehicles and helicopters to Romania later in the year to test the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) concept.
Around 4000 troops from 9 NATO countries will make the journey to the CINCU training area towards the end of May, coming from bases in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Norway, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. They will mostly arrive by air, with the heavy equipment coming by sea or rail.
Exercise Noble Jump is a major logistical challenge that will test the ability of all the participants to deliver a significant fighting force to wherever it is needed. Before the troops move, they have to be alerted, and this process is now taking place throughout the troop contributing nations. Using a pre-planned process, NATO's military headquarters contacts the member states' MODs and formerly requests that they move their high readiness troops.
The VJTF is kept on short notice to move and is able to deploy a powerful well trained force within days to prevent aggression succeeding. This year, it is being led by the UK's 20 Armoured Brigade.
Lieutenant General Alain Parent, Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Naples, which has command of the NATO Response Force in 2017 said "Noble Jump is a key milestone for us this year. It is our first major exercise that will see significant forces and their equipment moving across Europe and will provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate that we are able to quickly deploy forces to wherever they are needed to prevent conflict." He added "The Alert phase of the exercise is a key drill which we need to practice to ensure that our procedures are correct and I'm pleased to be able to say that it has gone very smoothly".