One of the most important Lithuanian armed forces national exercises ‘Thunder Strike 2017′ will take place in the east part of Lithuania. In 28th April – 7th May, Peacetime Operation Forces, Rapid Reaction Forces and supporting units will have trainings in the municipalities of Marijampolė and Vilkaviškis.
‘These days, armed conflicts and acts of terrorism occur in densely populated areas. Small armed groups, secretly influenced by other countries, are seeking to influence a peaceful population to panic and distrust. To manage hybrid conflicts military troops must train in natural environment – cities, villages so that residents can see, feel and understand the commitment and efforts of Lithuanian armed forces to defend our country ‘- said head of the exercises ‘Thunder Strike 2017′ chief of Joint Headquarters of the Lithuanian Armed Forces General Major Vitalijus Vaikšnoras.
Joint exercises to neutralize subversive groups
The main purpose of ‘Thunder Strike 2017′ remains the same as in 2016 – exercises are held to train national forces to carry out joint operations with subordinate units of the Ministry of the Interior and improve interaction with the state civil authorities.
The main exercise actions on 2-7th May are planned in Marijampolė and Vilkaviškis cities, where various incidents will be simulated on the streets and other public areas. Due to the patrolling troops and moving military equipment traffic in the cities may be limited. It is expected that Lithuanian military Peacetime Operation Forces and Rapid Reaction Forces together with the supporting units from Lithuanian armed forces and the Ministry of the Interior will react to imitation shooting. During the exercises in the regions of Marijampolė and Vilkaviškis Lithuanian armed forces troops will be training with the Police Department, Public Security Service and the Anti-terrorist operations team ‘Aras’ officers, the State Border Guard Service and the Fire and Rescue Department members. Moreover, representatives from municipalities, hospitals staff and the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union will be involved as well. In total about 3000 troops, 500 officers and 200 members of civil authorities will participate in exercises ‘Thunder Strike 2017′.
For the third time script of these exercises is drawn up in such a way that it would be possible to verify and assess how quickly and efficiently institutions of the Ministry of Interior could use Lithuanian military Peacetime Operations Forces and the Rapid Reaction Forces in order to neutralize armed subversive groups, at the same time protecting civilians and their property.
Reserve troops involved
During the ‘Thunder Strike 2017′ partial mobilization exercises will also take place, where national service administrating personnel will be performing tasks in the case of mobilization. In order to fulfill exercises objectives, 12 conscription stations will be established. Reserve troops who performed military service in 2000-2012 and were retired will be involved in these trainings.
In the nearest future 2000 summon instructions will be sent to the reserve troops, who at specified time on 5th May, must arrive to the regional military conscription and recruitment section.
Peacetime Operations Forces
During the peacetime Lithuanian armed forces execute tasks in order to support civil authorities in the course of emergency situations. For this purpose Peacetime Operation Forces are invoked, where almost 1000 troops are on duty this year. These forces are combained of Land, Naval, Air and Special Forces. The majority of them – 700 are from Land Force Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion. They are supported by troops from Juozas Vitkus Engineer and King Mindaugas hussar Battalions as well as National Defence Volunteer Forces. Peacetime Operation Forces were established in 2009, while on duty started in 2010.
Rapid Reaction Forces
Since 1st November, 2014 Lithuanian military Rapid Reaction Forces are ready to respond any type of threat for the national security. These forces are composed of two battalion size battle groups, formed of Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and Grand Duchess Birutė uhlan Battalion as well as Air and Special forces, Military Police, artillery, logistical and medical support units. Rapid Reaction Forces are prepared to operate within 2 hours after receiving the order.