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First Georgian military hundred licensed by NATO

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, May 12
The Noble Partner 2016 military training exercise started on May 11 at Georgia’s Vaziani Air Base in Tbilisi and will continue until May 24.

The training brought together 500 Georgian, 650 American and 150 British servicemen.

During the training, a full range of equipment will be featured, from American Abrams tanks and Bradley infantry vehicles to M119 howitzers and Georgian T-72 tanks and BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

The drills are aimed at enhancing United States (US) and Georgian interoperability within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force, which is a high readiness force established in 2003 to respond to emergency security situations.

The Minister of Defense of Georgia, Tinatin Khidasheli stated that after the trainings Georgia will have military hundred officially licensed by NATO.

“This is very important moment, since the trainings which kicked off today are absolutely different from the any other exercise the military undertakes. This is first time when so many partner countries are involved in training together, and the first time when new American technologies are being used,” state Khidasheli.

Khidasheli added that this is for the first time that Georgian soldiers are being given the chance to test all the new NATO technologies on their own ground.

“Georgian soldiers are able to receive high professional experience, using tools that are currently being used by NATO,” stated Khidasheli.

According to the Minister, the trainings are very important since such activities enhance the partnership and cooperation between NATO member countries.

“In such situations, friendship is created among partner countries, which is the cornerstone of any alliance,” stated Khidasheli.

According to her, Georgian, American and British soldiers will stand side by side on the Independence Day of Georgia, on May 26.

Georgia became the fourth non-NATO member state to join the NATO Response Forces (NRF) in 2015.