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Nov 9 2023

Canada deploys tank squadron to reinforce NATO eFP Battlegroup Latvia

SZCZECIN, Poland – As announced in June, Canada bolstered its military presence in Latvia by having deployed a tank squadron of fifteen Leopard 2 main battle tanks and personnel. The deployment was completed in November, when members from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group took off to ĀdažiThe soldiers will set the conditions for all future armored rotations as part of the Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Latvia.

The deployment of the Canadian Army tank squadron will significantly boost the Battlegroup’s military capabilities. In total, the squadron consists of about 130 personnel. Their mandate as "Rotation 0" is to establish the Canadian tank footprint, performing initial maintenance as each Leopard arrives at Camp Ādaži, and then get them operational with manoeuvre tasks on the roads and training ranges. Once complete, the Strathcona’s will hand over to Royal Canadian Dragoons, early next year, who will get the squadron validated with the eFP Battlegroup during a NATO Combat Readiness Evaluation, a capstone exercise to confirm the readiness of the multinational Battlegroup.

Members from LdSH(RC) depart for a deployment to Latvia, November 1, 2023 © Canadian Army

Over the summer and early autumn 2023, fifteen Leopard 2A4M tanks, two armored recovery vehicles, support vehicles, supplies and other equipment were then put through an extensive maintenance, upgrade and inspection regime to declare them operationally ready and configured for shipping. The Leopards were also fitted with updated remote weapons systems, which required extensive testing. "It has been a deliberate process," said Major Matthew Shumka, Commander B Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). Getting the tanks ready for their long journey was the job of the Army Equipment Fielding Centre.

This deployment demonstrates Canada’s commitment to implementing the Canada-Latvia Joint Declaration of June 2022, through which Canada pledged to work with Latvia and NATO Allies to generate and stage forces in order to surge the eFP Battlegroup Latvia to a combat capable brigade.

LdSH(RC)'s armored equipment, including 15 Leopard 2 main battle tanks, arrives at the port of Riga, November 10 ©  Sergeant Ēriks Kukutis

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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