TRAPANI AIR BASE, Sicily — Faced with the challenge of Russia's presence at its eastern and southern borders and the threat of a failed state in nearby Libya, NATO has inaugurated this morning its "biggest and most ambitious military exercise in more than a decade" with the challenge of Russia (Eastern and Turkish border) and the threat of failed states in North Africa (Lybia).
Known as Trident Juncture 2015, this exercise will be hosted in by Italy, Spain and Portugal at 16 different locations with around 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations — including, along with NATO allies, and Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine.
Monday's opening ceremony took place at the Italian air base of Trapani in Sicily, where NATO showed its air strike power with Eurofighters Typhoon, F-18, F-16, Tornados and AMX aircraft. Also with the drone An MQ-9 Reaper drone was onat the static display.
"This sends a very clear message to any potential aggressor," NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, said about this huge exercise that will finish on Nov. 6.
Trident Juncture 2015 will test the new rapid-reaction force of NATO whose "spearhead force" will be led by Spain in 2016.
The Supreme Allied Commander in EuropeBreedlove also sent a strong message for all allies worried about the Russian threat: "Any attempt to violate the sovereignty of one NATO nation will result in the decisive military engagement of all NATO countries."
More than 230 units, more than 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships will take placepart in this key exercise from the in NATO deterrence point of view of NATO. There will be 16 locations in the three host nations.
NATO Deputy Secretary-General, ambassador Alexander Vershbow, said NATO is concerned about "Russian military build-up," from Kaliningrad through the Black Sea and annexed Crimea to Syria and its border with Turkey.
However ambassador Vershbow denied this is an exercise to face the Russian threat. "Indeed it is inspired by African countries map," he said.
Actually it will simulate a conflict in an area of the Horn of Africa and Sudan with Kamon, Lakuta and Tytan as imaginary countries. And, of course, NATO will act fastly in Africa, the other hot border.