AROUND 1'000 military personnel belonging to NATO forces, currently stationed at Sant Isidre military base in Mahon, will be carrying out manoeuvres on Minorca for the next 7 days.

This will be the first occasion on which NATO's so-called “Hirex 10” exercises will be launched from Mahon. A fortnight ago all the material needed for the operation was landed at the base and earlier this week 150 soldiers of the 1'000 troops taking part in manoeuvres arrived on the island.

All personnel are now present at the base and exercises will be staged in ongoing phases until 24th June. During this time, military assessment will be made of the troops' efficiency under summer conditions.

The personnel taking part in “Hirex 10” consist of a land-based rapid response unit as well as combat forces and their respective logistical support teams. Crack troops such as these would be leading military operations on the Continent were the Council of Europe to consider it necessary.

NATO only has six other divisions capable of launching activities similar to those being undertaken on Minorca, thus highlighting the importance of practice manoeuvres at Sant Isidre base.