TAPA CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, Estonia – Soldiers from Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, along with soldiers from the United Kingdom’s 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery who are supporting NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup-Estonia, conducted a Multiple Launch Rocket System live fire exercise at Tapa Central Training Area, Estonia, May 5, 2021.
The LFX was the kick-off event for U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s Fires Shock exercise, a series of fires exercises which demonstrates the ability to rapidly deploy long-range precision fires and joint forcible entry fires across Europe and Africa.
“Our role as a long-range precision fires provider is to integrate with multinational partners and allies,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Brunner, commander of the 1st Bn., 77th Field Artillery Regt., 41st Field Artillery Bde. “It exercises our ability to deploy and integrate with those units.”
A total of 24 rockets were fired by U.S. and U.K. forces, 12 reduced range Practice Rockets (RRPR) rounds by four U.S. M-270 MLRSs and 12 70 mm reduced-range practice rounds by one U.K. M-270 system. The rockets were training rounds with no live warheads.
Each three-man crew of the M-270 MLRSs can fire a total of 12 rounds in less than 40 seconds, with an effective range of 165 to 300 kilometers, or 103 to 186 miles.
“The MLRS is an effective weapons system [because of its] versatility: being able to fire in all weather conditions where others can’t, the family of munitions, ranging from unguided to guided, and the lethality of the munitions, ” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Carl Lephart, platoon sergeant of Bravo Battery. “
The LFX consisted of three missions: at my command (AMC), time on target (TOT) and when ready (WR).
At my command missions are when the MLRS crews receive targeting information and fire on the target at the command of the Fires Direction Control, time on target is a countdown to launch on a target at a specific time, and when ready, the most technical of the missions, is when the reins of the targeting mission are given to the MLRS crews, Lephart said.
The ability to exercise combined fires integration with allies and partners is critical to strengthen interoperability and the abilities of the U.S. 's allies and partners to effectively call precision long-range fires in a variety of situations.
“Our U.K. counterparts are great. Their equipment is a little different than ours so we got a kick out of seeing their equipment versus ours” Lephart said. “It’s pretty cool working with them. They’re all good soldiers and good guys and we’ve had a lot of fun [working with them].”
This portion of Fires Shock was in support of Swift Response 21, a linked exercise of DEFENDER-Europe 21 which involves special operations activities, air assaults, and live fire exercises in Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania and demonstrates airborne interoperability between NATO allies.
During the scenario, the combined fires teams conducted Suppression of Enemy Air Defense missions to clear the area of a notional adversary’s air defense artillery.
This Fires Shock mission would allow the freedom of air movement for Soldiers from the 3rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, to conduct airborne operations during Swift Response 21 at the Nurmsi Drop Zone, Estonia.
Fires Shock will showcase the modernization of the U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s rapidly deployable long-range precision fires capabilities utilizing Multi-Domain Task Force capabilities in support of NATO and the National Defense Strategy in a dynamic security environment.
DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO allies and partner militaries. This year, more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in more than a dozen countries from the Baltics to the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea Region. Follow the latest news and information about DEFENDER-Europe 21, visit www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/DefenderEurope.