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European Active Set equipment for Noble Partner 2016 arrives in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, May 6
After days of travel across the Black Sea, European Active Set equipment arrived in Poti on May 4 2016, and will be engaged in the largest annual training exercise between the United States (U.S.) and Georgian forces, named Noble Partner. The equipment includes M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M119 Light Towed Howitzers and several wheeled vehicles.

The equipment was loaded in Varna, Bulgaria and transported to Georgia on May 2. Soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, made the voyage across the Black Sea with the tanks, fighting vehicles and support equipment.

“We received equipment for Noble Partner 2016 training exercise; the equipment includes heavy and light vehicles, as well as hammers and several wheeled vehicles, which will be unloaded and sent to the Vaziani Base,” Lieutenant Colonel Ivane Buchukuri said.

Exercise Noble Partner is a bilateral effort focused on enhancing U.S. and Georgian NATO Response Force interoperability in the context of inter-military relationships.

The training event is taking place at the Vaziani Training Area for the second time. Noble Partner 16 is a critical part of Georgia's training for its contribution of a light infantry company to the NATO Response Force (NRF) and enhances Georgian territorial self-defence capabilities. The NRF provides a rapid military response force to deploy quickly, wherever needed. In addition to its operational role, the NRF uses opportunities like Exercise Noble Partner to increase cooperation, education and training of all participants.

This year, the exercise is scheduled to take place from May 11 to 26 and will include approximately 500 Georgian, 150 British and 650 U.S. service members who are incorporating a full range of equipment, including U.S. M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M119 Light Towed Howitzers and several wheeled support vehicles.

Alongside with U.S. forces, Georgian forces will operate their T-72 Main Battle Tanks, BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles and several wheeled-support vehicles.

Moreover, the U.S. National Guard will also be participating, which includes three C-130 "Hercules" aircraft from the 165 Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard.

According to the official webpage of the US Army, participating U.S. forces are members of U.S. Army Europe, elements of the U.S.-based Regionally Allocated Force 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, contribution to NATO Response Force 2016 and the Georgia State Army and Air National Guard.

"The exercise is increasing capabilities from the previous year and also allows us to develop interoperability of these [fighting] systems with the Georgian systems," said Maj. Wayne Dahl, assigned to the Office of Defense Cooperation in Georgia.

Over the training course, participants will take part in situational training exercises, a field training exercise and a final live fire exercise.

According to the Ministry of Defence of Georgia, four media days are scheduled for Noble Partner 2016:

May 11 – Official opening ceremony of the exercise

May 14 –AT4 light anti-armor weapon firing exercise

May 18 – M1A2 live fire exercise

May 24 – DV Day/Closing ceremony