Military hardware from NATO members and partner countries has arrived in Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti for the upcoming Noble Partner defence exercise launching on Sunday.
For the first time, armoured fighting vehicles from the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, will be used in the 12-day drills held at the Vaziani and Camp Norio training areas outside capital Tbilisi.
The German hardware arriving at Poti included the Boxer multirole vehicle, while M1 Abrams main battle tanks as well as Bradley and Stryker armoured fighting vehicles of the United States Army also arrived from port of Burgas, Bulgaria.
Vehicles set to be used in Noble Partner have been arriving in Georgia since July 21, while main forces of the exercise will begin to arrive starting Tuesday.
This year's event will aim to support training, evaluation and eventual certification of a Georgian Armed Forces' light infantry company for the NATO Response Force (NRF) roster.
Georgia already contributes one infantry company to the NRF along with other NATO partner countries that are not members of the alliance.
Noble Partner 2017 will also involve command and control exercises for brigade-sized and smaller units, while also focusing on cooperation and interoperability between forces from partner nations.
The Boxer armoured vehicle of the Bundeswehr will feature in the exercise for the first time. Photo: Georgia's Defence Ministry press office.
Highlights of the exercise will include airborne and live-fire operations featuring airborne, infantry, mechanised and armoured units with air support.
The drills will be part of a series of Black Sea exercises led by US Army Europe and held in seven countries of the region. Other events of the series include Saber Guardian in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, while Ukraine hosted Sea Breeze drills.
Georgia will host third annual Noble Partner exercise, involving over 2,800 troops and running through August 12.
Eight participating countries, including NATO members and partner nations, will contribute forces to the drills.
Armoured vehicles of the German armed forces in Poti port. Photo: Georgia's Defence Ministry press office.
Service members and personnel from Georgia, the United States, Armenia, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will train at the two locations.
The initial list of participating countries, announced in March, also included Spain, Romania and Azerbaijan, however the exercise will now feature armed forces from eight nations.
Established in 2015, last year's Noble Partner drills involved around 1,300 service members training at Vaziani.