The UK Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk3 helicopters, aircrew, engineers and support staff from 846 Naval Air Squadron have participated in the annual workout of Nato’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, Arrcade Fusion 2015.
Conducted across around 75,000m² of the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, the exercise involved 1,700 military and civilian personnel, from four countries.
The Latvian Air Force’s Lielvarde Air Base is acting as home for the normally-Yeovilton-based air and ground crews of 846 NAS.
846 detachment commander Lieutenant commander Richard Bartram said: "The detachment will provide a support flight capability for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps across Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia throughout the duration of Ex Arrcade Fusion."
"Any time we get the chance to support the Army and NATO like this, we will."
The UK-based Nato’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, established two decades ago, conducts this exercise to see how it might respond to a fictional security or humanitarian crisis.
The recent Arrcade Fusions was conducted at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall.
Reaction Corps commander lieutenant general Tim Evans said: "It is our first time in Latvia and provides an excellent opportunity to deploy and then operate in another NATO country, and strengthen our partnership with our allies, especially those in the Baltic region.
"The exercise is a great chance to better understand how Latvia could support a Nato force deploying to their country."
Arrcade Fusion 2015 is scheduled to run until early December.
Image: 846 Merlin Mk3 taxiing at Lielvarde air base. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.