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The Black Swan 2022 international special operations military exercise concluded in Szolnok, in central Hungary, on Thursday, with a day of drill demonstrations.
The NATO exercise involved over 700 troops from nine countries, along with 15 aircraft and other equipment, according to a statement.
Major General Tamás Sándor, inspector for Special Operations of the Hungarian Defence Forces Command, said at the Szolnok helicopter base that all partner countries of the Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) were involved in the exercise led by Hungary, including Austria, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and the US were also participating, he said.
Sándor said the R-SOCC last year reached initial operational capability. He said the aim of the Black Swan exercise was for the R-SOCC to deepen that capability and to be able to carry out special operations on the territories of three countries. The command also aims to achieve full operational capability by the end of 2024 and to be able to go on stand-by from 2025, he said.
The 12-day exercise is being held in Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia with some 715 soldiers having carried out more than 40 special operational tasks, Sandor said. The tasks are being synchronized and led by the Hungarian R-SOCC command, he added.
Unlike last year, this year’s exercise also saw the participation of Czech and Romanian troops in the performance of tasks in Hungary, Slovakia and Norway, the major general said.
The exercise mainly covered military areas, but operations were also carried out in 13 civilian areas, Sándor said.
He said the R-SOCC set up an international, Hungarian-led staff in Szolnok to lead the operations, with the Árpád Bertalan Brigade playing a key role in their execution. The brigade stationed one unit each in Slovakia and Romania for the event, the major general said. Also, for the first time, Hungary’s counter-terrorism force TEK was included in the exercise, he added.
Brigadier Rob Stephenson, Deputy Commander of NATO Special Operations Headquarters, attended the exercise, among others.
Featured photo by János Mészáros/MTI