Since their first appearance on the battlefield, tanks have been a centerpiece of modern warfare. This week, NATO member countries are showing what their tank teams can do in a competition called “Iron Spear.”
The four-day competition is taking place at the Adazi base in Latvia, about 200 kilometers from the Russian border. 34 crews from 13 NATO countries including the U.S., Canada, Germany and Great Britain are taking part in a series of day and night exercises. The competition is designed to test the striking force and maneuverability of tanks. There is growing concern tanks may soon be obsolete with the advancement of anti-tank weapons like U.S. made Javelins and HIMARS.
During Iron Spear, the tank crews must traverse fields full of obstacles, firing targets both while moving and stationary. Some of the tanks in operation at Iron Spear include the Polish PT-91, the Italian Ariete, and Germany’s Leopard 2, arguably the most advanced tank in the world.
Residents who live in the area were asked to please be understanding while the metal monsters maneuvered around the countryside and fired their powerful main guns.
Italian Captain Antonio Cornacchi is running the armored gunnery competition. He told CTV News while tanks have shown their limits in the war in Ukraine, they remain the main focus of the Italian army and other NATO armies.
The 13 NATO nations participating in Iron Spear make up the battle group eFP Latvia, which NATO said serves as a dissuasion and a shield in the event of an attack.