During the bilateral drill Archipelago Endeavour, aimed at boosting rapport in the event of a crisis or war, US Marines and their Swedish counterparts will practice disembarkation procedures from battleships, sniping and sharpshooting with heavy weapons systems such as grenade launchers.
About a hundred US Marines have arrived at Skavsta Airport in Sweden to practice combat in the archipelago environment together with the Swedish Armed Forces and the Navy’s amphibious unit.
The bilateral exercise Archipelago Endeavour is being held in the Stockholm Archipelago under the auspices of Sweden’s Amphibious Corps with the stated goal of further deepening the exchange of knowledge and experience between the two units.
“The exercise gives us a unique and valuable opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge. It is through exercises like this that we learn more about each other, can strengthen our relationships, and lower the threshold for being able to work side by side in the event of a crisis or war”, Colonel Patrik Gardesten, head of the Amphibious Regiment, said in a statement.
Initially, the approximately 350-strong force will carry out a number of training elements that aim to better acquaint one another with each other’s weapons systems, platforms, and combat techniques. A more applied portion will be held later, where units are expected to plan and carry out a more complex task together.
“During the drill, we will, among other things, practice disembarkation procedures from battleships and sniping. We will also carry out sharpshooting with heavy weapons systems such as grenade launchers in order to be able to weave everything together in one towards the end”, Captain Erik Rosen, one of several officers in the unit who is responsible for exercise planning, said in a statement.
At the same time, on the other side of the Baltic Sea, Russia and Belarus are holding the Zapad 21 drill featuring about 200,000 personnel, over 80 aircraft, and up to 760 pieces of military equipment.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist specifically warned that the drill, seen as the largest of its kind since the Cold War, affects Sweden’s entire surroundings.
“This is a very large exercise that puts pressure on the entire local area. We’re following the drill exercise very closely. And above all what happens afterwards”, the Swedish defence minister said.