By Anno Gravemaker in Cape Verde

The Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic Ocean has hosted a large-scale test of the new NATO Response Force (NRF) structure, with around 7,000 personnel participating in the multinational exercise Steadfast Jaguar.

NRF is to become fully operational in October, with around 25,000 personnel from air, land and maritime forces to be held at a high level of permanent operational readiness to provide a spectrum of rapid-reaction services, from humanitarian relief missions to full-scale military operations. Reflecting a growing need for NATO forces to conduct multinational missions far away from their home countries, lead elements of the NRF should be capable of arriving in-theatre within five days of an order to deploy.

© Anno Gravemaker 

USAF F-16s provided reconnaissance and ground attack services

Conducted from 15-23 June, Steadfast Jaguar made use of Cape Verde’s austere surroundings and strategic distance from mainland Europe to test the alliance’s logistics chain.

Transport aircraft from numerous countries operated from Sal international airport during the exercise, with the site also hosting a squadron of US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16s from Spangdahlem air base in Germany, providing reconnaissance and ground-attack services. They were assisted by Spanish navy Boeing AV-8B Harrier strike aircraft operating from the aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias.

Source: Flight International