“More equipment. More soldiers. More capacity.” The Armed Forces continue to strengthen the mission of which they are a part in Latvia under the auspices of NATO, and they do so with a deployment never seen before: sending 6 of the Army’s M109 A5 self-propelled howitzers. It is the first time that Spain has deployed a heavy artillery element outside its borders.
These vehicles arrived at the Adazi base in Latvia on Wednesday after disembarking at the port of Riga. There they will be integrated into the multinational battalion of the allies. The decision is part of the joint strategy that seeks to strengthen defensive “and preventive” missions in the countries of the region, underpinning security in this area after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Spanish forces already add up to the figure of 510 troops, in the so-called eFP Battle Groupwhose translation is Reinforced Advanced Presence. The work of the military on the ground includes tactical operations in combat groups that NATO promoted after the Kremlin decided to invade the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.
more powerful artillery
The American-made M109 A5s are the most powerful artillery ever deployed outside our borders. In turn, it is the most powerful element of these characteristics that the Armed Forces have. They belong to the 11th Field Artillery Regiment, based in the town of Castrillo del Val (Burgos).
According to the data that appears in the virtual space of the Army, each of the M109 A5 has a caliber of 155 mm and a total weight of 24.5 tons. Its cannons stretch for more than 6 meters, and reach a maximum speed of 56 kilometers per hour.
Spanish vehicles and equipment are unloaded at the Port of Riga for transport to Camp Ādaži in support of the #eFPBG #Latvia.
? MCpl Rod Doucet, Sgt Fernando Ndiaye#WeAreNATO #StrongerTogether #5YearsAsOne pic.twitter.com/pUOvQPBAyx
— NATO eFP Battle Group Latvia (@eFPBGlatvia) March 16, 2022
Its autonomy is 345 kilometers without refueling and its shots reach 30 kilometers away. They are capable of launching 6 projectiles per minute, and are normally tasked with supporting heavy brigade units with ACA fire actions.
The Spanish detachment already has in the camp of the town of Adazi with six Leopardo battle tanks and 15 Pizarro armored vehicles, stationed there for months at the service of the Atlantic Alliance forces. It is the first measure of war escalation – “defensive and preventive” that is taken after the shipment, this weekend, a donation to Ukraine of 20 tons of medical material and military protection equipment in two A400M aircraft of the 31st Wing of the Army of the Air.
Currently, Spain has about 800 military personnel on NATO missions on the border with Russia. To the troops deployed in Latvia -which will now be strengthened- we must add those of the Air Force to monitor its airspace. Within the Baltic Air Police, Spain contributes four Eurofighter fighters in Bulgaria and 130 soldiers.
Exercise in Norway
It is not the only move by NATO in the framework of reinforcing its missions in the eastern fringe, in Moscow’s area of influence. This Monday, 30,000 soldiers from the NATO, including a contingent of Spanish Army, were deployed in Norway to participate in maneuvers planned for months, but which coincide in the midst of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and in the midst of the escalation of tension between the West and the Kremlin.
Our Armed Forces contribute to this exercise, called “Cold Response 2022”, a contingent of 250 soldiers from the Guadarrama XII Brigade, located at the El Goloso military base, north of Madrid.
Days ago they left for northern Europe, heading for the Arctic, to acclimatize before starting the demanding maneuvers with the rest of the soldiers. In addition to its troops, Spain contributed a dozen Leopardo tanks and six Pizarro armored vehicles.
In this way, NATO flexes muscle while Putin continues to bomb Ukraine, even in cities very close to the borders of Alliance members.