Felipe VI took part this Thursday in the multinational exercise ‘Defender Europe 23’, specifically the phase called ‘Swift Response’ which is taking place at the San Gregorio National Training Center. During the visit, Don Felipe was able to see firsthand the details of the airborne operations carried out during the exercise.
King Felipe on Thursday morning took part in an airstrike by 24 helicopters from the forces of Spain and the United States during the Defender Europe 23 exercise, which has been held since the last 7th in the San Gregorio maneuver area, in which between six and 2,000 soldiers Are included. NATO countries (Hungary, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and the US) participate.
“It’s about training troops in the European sector in the face of a possible invasion from the east,” explains Lieutenant Colonel Joaquín Martínez Valero, of the Castillejos division based in Huesca. This is the first time that he has led this type of exercise, usually conducted by United States troops, which has been done since 2015.
On this occasion, the United States handed over command and control to the Castiljos Division Headquarters, which directs the “initial entry” operations to be carried out between Greece, Estonia and Spain, which take place at the same time and total Altogether 6,000 Allied troops from 13 countries, 24 fixed-wing aircraft and 53 helicopters.
The king participated in the exercise on a Superpuma helicopter, and was accompanied by the Army Chief of Staff, Amador Ensenat y Beria, and Division General José Manuel Vivas, a Zetano who commands Castillejos’ Division.
San Gregorio to Ablitas
This exercise by NATO troops, which is meant to be the application of Article 5 of the Atlantic Alliance Treaty, required to simulate an assault by helicopters (among them six Tiger, for assault; eight Chinook for transport, four NH90, for manoeuvres; four Blackhawks, for manoeuvres; and two cougars) since their departure from the Paridera del Santísimo in San Gregorio, where they are visited by the king in a location that appears in the film ‘Apocalypse Now’ by Coppola (1979) ‘ appears to reproduce, until Ablitas Military Airport (Navarra). This point must have been taken by the enemies and was detected by the intelligence services.
“A threat has been detected against this airport, which was previously secured by paratroop troops. In this phase, about a hundred troops from the three Allies are being brought in using about twenty helicopters from two countries (Spain and the United States) Attends, Detailed Lt. Col. Martínez Valero.
When assessing the two weeks of this exercise, which is the most complete of the year in the maneuver area, the officers of the Castillejos Division state that it has been “very satisfactory” and that the “training objectives” have been established in principle. The main thing, he says, was to advance the “inter-operability” of Spanish troops with the Allies in the event of an attack by the enemy somewhere in Europe.
Enemy Enemy Attack
A Castillejos Division spokesman says, “Swift Response simulates an escalation of the threat of attack from a hostile enemy, in its early stages just before an armed attack begins.” “And with the maneuver, the Allied ability to deploy rapid response with versatile and very powerful troops is demonstrated so that this potential aggressor does not launch an attack on European territory.”
Although the exercises carried out in San Gregorio have been weak as the heavy drop of 1,400 paratroopers was not possible due to the north wind.
Summarizing the Defender Europe exercise as “phases of an Article 5 (of the NATO treaty) response to aggression”, the lieutenant colonel lists three phases: “The first is deterrence to prevent an attack from starting. , with Switch Response; following would be the reinforcement of Allied units in the European sector through the strategic launch of a North American unit from the United States; and the final phase would focus on defensive actions to restore Allied territorial integration.
Military hospital visit
Once the trip to NATO exercises in San Gregorio is over, the king plans to head to the military hospital in Zaragoza, where 19 of the 53 wounded Ukrainian soldiers have passed through the rooms of the health center since visiting . War between Russia and Ukraine on February 24, 2022.