Exercise Iron Wolf 2023: NATO’s Multinational Training Exercise Tests Lithuania’s Troops

Beginning on October 5th and running for two weeks, The bi-annual ‘Iron Wolf’ exercise will see troops from the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, and the United States come together to test the battle readiness of Lithuania’s Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf Battalions. 

Held every Spring and Autumn, the exercise involves around 3,600 military personnel and 550 pieces of military equipment, as stated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Focusing on offensive and defensive operations, the purpose of the exercise is to ensure the battle readiness of MIB (military intelligence board) Iron Wolf – Lithuania’s largest unit of land forces, and the nation’s contribution to NATO forces. 

During the Spring exercise held in May of this year, the Lithuanian Armed Forces stated: “Troops of Vaidotas Infantry Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group Lithuania used tanks, IFVs and armoured personnel carriers in “force on force” training supported by the Lithuanian Air Force Air Defence Battalion with Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) and an MQ-9 combat drone armed with Hellfire missiles and remotely controlled from the United States.” Continuing, “Large-scale operations are controlled by several hundreds of specifically trained observers-evaluators who adjust actions of the training units, take decisions concerning losses incurred and finally provide an assessment of a unit’s readiness for its designated tasks.” 

The exercise was first held almost 20 years ago, with a 2017 adaptation to the exercise bringing in the force-on-force training method.