RUKLA, Lithuania (June 15, 2015) -- As more than 6,000 participants, converge throughout the Baltic States, conducting the long-standing exercise known as Saber Strike, readiness and strong Europe are the overshadowing themes.
This year's iteration, which began June 8, 2015, and continues until June 19, is comprised of service members from 13 different nations.
Soldiers of Recon Platoon, Jager Battalion 292, Armed Forces of Germany, hit the ground running; providing much needed reconnaissance for their NATO partners conducting troop movements.
With unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and other integral equipment at their disposal, troops on the battlefield have a decided edge.
"We have been doing recon flights with our UAV Aladin," said 1st Lt. Felix Juellig, a platoon leader with 292. "The greatest experience so far is that we got to train with two companies who were launching attacks and that we were able to support them with live feedback from the Aladin. It is something we haven't done before."
"It's a great opportunity for us to train for interoperability; to see your scheme of maneuvers and learn how we can attach our scheme of maneuvers to that," Juellig added.
Another asset in 292's tool belt, is the Wiesel A2 TOW, or tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided; a small, light tracked vehicle. The firepower, maneuverability and onboard optics make it ideal for battlefield surveillance.
"It's small; only weighing about two and a half tons," said Cpl. Andre Schadler, a recon infantryman with 292. "It can go almost anywhere and it's very fast."
The 292 operate in relatively small teams. This allows for ease of movement, hasty concealment and the ability to spread itself throughout the area of operations.
These capabilities, coupled with the other contributing nations here at Saber Strike, provide an unparalleled realism to the training for real life multinational contingency operations.
"It's pretty cool to work with other nations; it always is, Juellig said. "It's great to see how friendly and helpful the other nations are to each other. It really makes it fun and it's a great experience for us."