Vytis decorating the Belgian Armed Forces convoy

This Wednesday, on 29 August, three military equipment convoys of Belgian and Luxembourg Armed Forces decorated with Lithuanian insignia Vytis and NATO flags are going to conduct movement from Klaipėda sea port to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group’s home station in Rukla by main land roads: Klaipėda – Kaunas – Jonava. These forces are new rotations of Belgian and Luxembourg servicemen assigned to the battle group in Lithuania. The battle group will be augmented by 65 pieces of military equipment. The Belgian and Luxembourg troops arrived in Lithuania at weekend by plane.

This time Belgium contributes to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Lithuania by sending a motorised infantry company comprising 250 servicemen. In 2017 Belgian servicemen comprised the main part of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group logistic support.

The Belgian motorised infantry company includes servicemen of 1/3rd infantry battalion. It is one of five combat battalions of Belgian motorised brigade. Various capabilities (infantry, direct fire support, reconnaissance elements, snipers) provide this battalion with multifunctional structure and enable it to operate independently. The standard vehicle Piranha available in several modifications, with 90mm and 30mm guns or with 12.7mm MG, is used as infantry fighting vehicle. This ensures strong fire power enhancing infantry capabilities. The Belgian motorised infantry company is supported by Luxemburg reconnaissance platoon.

Belgian servicemen are familiar with Lithuanian terrain as in October 2016 representatives of Belgian battalion came to Lithuania to participate in international exercise “Baltic Piranha”. By deploying the 1/3rd battalion integrated in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Belgium meets its obligation to contribute to joint NATO efforts in enhancing the security of NATO eastern flank.

The NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group deployed in Rukla from the beginning of 2017 is led and majorly manned by Germany. In total, the strength of the multinational unit is roughly 1,200 servicemen from eight NATO countries. The unit is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rene Braun from Germany.

The international unit is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and continually trains in collective defence training events and exercises.

Deployment of NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland was a decision of NATO leaders taken in July 2016. The forces are primarily a response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, build-up of military potential and demonstration of military power in the region.

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