Estonia tests combat readiness at the mass military exercise Siil

About 15,000 conscripts, reservists and active-duty servicemen of the Estonian Defence Forces, and members of the Estonian Defence League and allies from ten countries are to test combat readiness at the mass military exercise Siil (Hedgehog) from 16 May to 3 June.

Siil is the largest military exercise in Estonia and it takes place every three or four years instead of the annual exercise, Kevadtorm (Spring Storm).

The drill will test combat readiness of Estonian Defence Forces and the ability to respond to different threat scenarios in an international framework, the defence forces said in a statement.

Units of the Estonian 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, Air Force, Navy, Cyber Command, Special Operations Command, Support Command, Military Police and territorial defence will participate in exercise, together with allied and partner nations.

Members of the Estonian Defence Forces celebrating after the exercise Siil on 2018. Photo by the defence forces.

“With the exercise Siil 2022, it’s important and different from the previous exercises that we’re concentrating on the international framework,” the Chief of Staff of the Estonian military, Lieutenant General Martin Herem said in a statement in December 2021.

“We want to exercise reacting to dangers in an international framework, together with the Northern Division and our Latvian colleagues. Almost half of the participants are reservists and their participation is of a key importance in obtaining combat readiness.”

According to the defence forces, Siil 2022 is one of the largest military exercises held in Estonia after the Soviet occupation. It’s mostly taking place in southern Estonia and northern Latvia.

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