U.S. Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade with their Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters arrived at Bezmer Airfield, Bulgaria on Apr. 30, 2021, for Exercise Swift Response, part of DEFENDER-Europe 21.
Defender Europe is a large-scale Army-led exercise, though this year it has significant Air Force and Navy participation. Last week, for instance, the USNS Bob Hope arrived off the coast of Albania in advance of its participation in a joint logistics over-the-shore exercise there.
This exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO allies and partner militaries.
“It’s defensive in nature, focused on deterring aggression, while preparing our forces to respond to crisis and conduct large-scale combat operations if necessary,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, during a briefing Monday at the Pentagon.
According to a recent service news release, the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade demonstrated its ability to rapidly project aviation assets from their home bases in Germany to Eastern Europe by deploying 17 aircraft, crossing 7 countries in under 12 hours.
This year, more than 30,000 multinational forces from 26 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 14 countries from the Baltics to the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea Region.