Written by Eugenio Montalti
In the mid-May of this year, we are to witness the most significant military exercise for Special Operation Forces (SOF) ever displayed. The second edition of this exercise is set to begin on 9 May 2022. The exercise, named “Trojan Footprint”, will be held in German, Poland, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Slovakian, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, North Macedonian, Montenegrin, Georgian, Croatian, and Slovenian territories.
Trojan Footprint is meant to improve and signal the capabilities of the participating forces in their interoperability, efficacy, readiness, and lethality. All these themes are of high importance for the modern armies, making the role of these drills and Finabel determinant to a new extent. Moreover, the exercise is affiliated with a few other drills such as “Black Swan”, which is taking place in Hungary, “Emeral Warrior” in the United States, “Flaming Sword” in Lithuania, and “Skorpion” in Poland. Thanks to this operation, American, Austrian, and Romanian Special Forces task groups will be training under the command of a Hungarian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG), preparing the creation of a combat infantry capability in Újdörögd, together with Polish troops.
This latest edition of Trojan Footprint will be the stage for two significant additions. First, the number of participants is planned to double to over 3300, from 30 nations. Second and most important, the drill will cover the entirety of NATO’s eastern flank, from the Baltics to the Black Sea. In addition, the United Kingdom’s British Royal Air Force will provide two Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 multi-role combat aircraft for the first time. Said fighters will be deployed in Hungary to take part in close air support (CAS) missions for the SOF units on the ground. The Szolnok-based Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) achieved initial operational capability in 2021. Several elements of the R-SOCC will operate in parallel during the exercise. Indeed, the long-term objective of these exercises is to achieve full operational capability (FOC), which is set to be obtained by the end of 2024. Once this has been attained, the forces should subsequently be able to transit to an on standby phase in 2025 as the NATO SOF Response Force.
Defense Brief Editorial. (2022, May 1). Largest-ever international special operations forces drill kicks off in Europe. Defense Brief. https://defbrief.com/2022/05/01/largest-ever-international-special-operations-forces-drill-kicks-off-in-europe/