The Turkish army has taken the lead of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), placing thousands of soldiers on standby, ready to deploy within days.

According to NATO, Turkey takes over from Poland, which provided the core of the force in 2020.

“Built around Turkey’s 66th Mechanised Infantry Brigade of around 4,200 troops, a total of around 6,400 soldiers will serve on the VJTF.”

Units from Albania, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the UK, and the United States will also serve on the force, which is part of the Alliance’s larger NATO Response Force.  Turkey has made substantial investments into the unit – amongst the most mobile in NATO – particularly in its logistics and ammunition requirements planning. The latest models of Turkish armed vehicles, anti-tank missiles and howitzers have been allocated to the force.

NATO heads of state and government decided to create the VJTF at the Wales Summit in 2014 in response to a changed security environment, including Russia’s destabilisation of Ukraine and turmoil in the Middle East.  NATO members take turns heading the VJTF. Poland led the VJTF in 2020, Germany in 2019, and Italy had rotational control of the force in 2018.

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Ian M.

Hmmm, let me think. A high readiness force, able to face threats from where? The East, maybe? That would be Russia in my book. How does Erdogan reconcile his Russian supplied S400 systems purchase from a potential adversary?

Mark B

The West?

Stevo H

Who knows what that man will do….. he’s very unpredictable and has a habit of rubbing everyone up the wrong way……. even the US, Moscow, Beijing and numerous other neighbours.
I follow that region quite a lot and as long as ERDOGAN himself stays out of the way of his military top brass’ decisions, the process and exercises/working together etc will go quite well. Many Countries militarys pretty much do their own thing so things normally go well.
When politicians interfere, that’s when you get issues and problems.


We 100%.know what he does …. He shoots down Russian planes


Here is a thought, how come those old 105mm tanks still full fill the Turkish Army’s requirement, when we in the UK scrap our chieftain’s and CH1’s as surplus rubbish. There are probably many scenarios where a good old lump of iron is still effective, thus leaving frontline duties to more contemporary platforms? When the Lugushall depot emptied its 500 + Chieftains to loud publicity, I questioned why such beasts should be cast? The same with CH1 sold off for pence to Jordon who still recognised, the old girls still had a useful life with them? Now we face the… Read more »


Might cost a fair bit but could of stored the CH1 up graded them a bit , for a bit of depth in numbers ,but the MOD does not like expensive ideas.


What sickens me dave12, is all that British made armour just thrown away or stuffed in museums when many countries would have gladdly taken them. Funny that the Foreign Office judged the tanks to be too powerful to be sold or donated to many countries? A British made MBT is a B52 in terms of solidity and the ability to be upgraded.

David Barry

Did anyone mention Centurion still in service!?


Yep I totally agree, I have a familiy member who was a CH2 gunner ,he thinks the CH2 with out the upgrade is a still a decent bit of kit.


In another Afghanistan or Iraq, CH2 in its current form would suffice as it has over the last 17 years. The problems arise in a peer/near peer conflict. That being said, we are considerably more likely to participate in another Afghan/Iraq over the next 10 years than we are in a peer conflict… Even if we find ourselves in a peer conflict, it will be with NATO and British Armour – even if upgraded – is not going to make up the main offensive Armoured contingent. It will be a token addition. I do think there is an argument to… Read more »


You are right, what is the likelihood we will confront peer forces? If the Army had retained CH1 say,150 vehicles, then augment the tank fleet with 400 CH2 the British tank force would have been far more useful, than the ever-dwindling numbers we have today. Too much nonsense was banded about the worthiness of the MBT in recent years, to the point, it began to influence the debate, in the wrong direction! Many armies around the World operate old tanks from the 20th century and they are still fit for purpose due to potential foe being in a similar situation.… Read more »


To me, the biggest crime is the abandonment of an UK design and build capability for MBTs (like so many other capabilities).

This should have been seen as a National Strategic capability and treated as such. For example a small trickle of MBTs should be in continuous manufacture alongside refurbs/repairs and upgraded versions, and a small design team and project kept alive for the next generation tank.

As things stand we are ditching the MBT and relying on others (USA/German companies) for heavy armour. Far better to spend the money in the UK and benefit the wider economy.


Well said AlbertStarburst, an industry that was there to build and support our troops. Sadly, like so many such institutions they were seen as too established and disproportionate to the numbers manufactured. Would they apply the same nonsense to building our nuclear submarines……No of cause not!

John Clark

The problem is, once they dropped the the CH2 order to less than 400 and it failed to pick up serious orders, the manufacturing capabilities were hard to justify, since the required numbers were cut to only 250, it’s frankly impossible. I don’t think you can use the SSN analogy, as a single RN SSN could gut most navies, simply put, one boat is hugely capable asset. I’m deeply uneasy about loosing MBT capability and think 250 is the absolute minimum needed in the active fleet to generate a deployable armoured division with 80 – 100 tanks at its heart.… Read more »


What I’m saying John, is the importance of a British-made MBT is as relevant today as it was when first introduced in WW1. Nothing has come along that spelled the death of the tank, it has proved to be the backbone of most armies and will continue to be a relevant weapon. So why use numbers or even costs when talking about retaining manufacturing capability? Hence my analogy with the Trident subs, to my mind, a MBT is still a key national asset and we need to retain the ability to design and make more if required. By the way,… Read more »

John Clark

It certainly will Maurice, I totally see were you are coming from and largely agree with your sentiment. I’m deeply uneasy about loosing MBT capability, but once the numbers drop below the ability to form an armoured division, they become under great risk. Defence planners will identify that they cannot be deployed in the number required ( based on the last 30 years of use) and money is best spent elsewhere. I’m not saying I agree, it’s just the current direction of travel… Who knows, we didn’t see the increase in defence spending, so maybe the endless retreat from a… Read more »

Paul T

There was never a Reduction in CH2 Orders for the BA,in fact an Extra Batch was Produced to help keep the Factory Alive.After the Fall of the Iron Curtain it never stood Much Chance in the Export Market due to the Firesale’s of Surplus MBT’s being Offered,Especially the Leopard 2.


How difficult would it be though to setup the infrastructure to manucfacture again. GDUK and that BAE RM consortium already appear to be doing it.
Most of the complexity is in the optics and sensors which should have been funded through continuous upgrade programs that where sidelined for UOR vehicles.
We have a chance to sort it out now properly with boxer. I don’t see the UK ordering replacements for the C2 until 2040.


Is the UK proposed to lead the VJTF at any point? I see German was the lead in 2019 and due to to take over again in 2023.

Ian M.

Have we got a functional Mech Infantry Brigade then?

Daniele Mandelli

Don’t know. The UK is the framework nation for another NATO command, the ARRC ( Allied Rapid Reaction Corps ) at Insworth.
Consists of elements of UK 1 Signal Bde and other UK and NATO elements.

VJTF in comparison is like an enlarged brigade.


Hi Danielle, The ARRC was the first, but is now one of 8 Rapid Deployable Corps within NATO. The others are: 1) NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-IT) in Solbiate Olana near Milan; 2) the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Spain (NRDC-Spain) in Valencia; 3) the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Turkey (NRDC-T) based near Istanbul; 4)the 1 German-Netherlands Corps based in Münster, Germany; 5)the Rapid Reaction Corps France (RRC-FR) in Lille;· 6)the NATO Deployable Corps Greece (NRDC-GR) based in Thessaloniki; and 7)the Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC-NE) based in Szczecin, Poland. In addition, Eurocorps, based in Strasbourg, France, has a technical agreement… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Bob2 Indeed, I’m aware of most of them, quite a list isn’t there. NORTHAG, CENTAG, 2 ATAF, AMF were so much easier to keep track of than these endless new commands and alterations! I don’t think the British Army currently has the set up to take on the role, our high readiness HQ elements and supporting formations like Signals are committed supporting the aforementioned ARRC, our own national reaction forces, and PJHQ through the SJF HQ ( L ) and JFLog HQ. I think the UK is better suited to providing VHR forces to NATO in other areas like… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

Are those old Pattons? Christ Turkey no wonder you got such a bloody nose in Syria

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

I may be wrong but I thought the Turks lost multiple Leopard 2 variants in Syria?

Yes they did, a good number which surprised a lot of people! The M60A1/3 is still in service with the Turkish Army.

They Did – Poorly Deployed.

John Clark

M60’s Levi…..

David Barry

Is anyone else worried by Turkey taking over this role? Who is best buds with Russia at the moment? Surely, a highly reliable ally should only ever be entrusted with this role.


Not sure Russia has any Best Buds at the moment…… least of all Turkey.

Daniele Mandelli


I’m more concerned with Turkish access to Wider NATO Intelligence networks if they are really untrustworthy?

Paul T

On the Plus Side Turkish Forces have been Bloodied in Recent Adventures – that could Prove Decisive if the Brown Stuff were to Hit the Fan.


Is laughable that Turkey is allowed to lead anything in NATO. Ugh


Yes cringeworthy. Turkey should be suspended from NATO while Erdogan is in power, they have not been a dependable ally for quite a few years now.

Stevo H

After the S400 thingy, I actually thought that it could be the end of Turkey in NATO but…… Turkey is in a very strategically important location so yet again, they get away with it.
With Turkey in NATO, it traps the Russians in the Black Sea…… without Turkey in NATO, the Russians can get out of the trap and cause havoc in the Mediterranean Sea, which is not very good, is it fella?

Last edited 2 months ago by Stevo H

Turkey is not the be all and end all to block the strait. With the long range of missiles, radars, etc… this can just as easily be done from Greece or Bulgaria. The strait is a bottleneck which makes it easy to destroy any ship tryIng to cross, literally shooting fish in a barrel with a shotgun.
Secondly Russia has always had access to the Med. When was it ever denied access to the Med during the Cold War? Lastly Russia already has a port in the Med in Tartus, Syria.

Tim uk

Turkey ? What next Russia takes over QRA for NATO ?

Stevo H

I’m a bit concerned about this, if Erdogan gets involved with decision making then things could get tense, if he stays out of the way everything will work well.

Stevo H

Mmmmmmmmm……….. not sure if this is a good thing or not really but what i do know is that the Turks will be itching to show off what they have in the toy box. We already know about the quality and capabilities of Turkish drones and their drone launched bombs and missiles……. we saw them on a daily basis during the recent Azeri attacks on the Armenians, they were quite impressive actually.
I don’t know what to expect but I’m sure it will be fun and I’m very confident that the Russians will be allowed to monitor it quite easily.


This thread is full of Turkey bashing just out of pure ignorance! Anyone in UK military and government in the know would disagree. During the pandemic Turkey delivered more aid to NATO countries than anyone else! Specially to the UK when the NHS fell apart . So called allies like Trump and Israel refused to sell supplies let alone donate things. Turkey donated 2 loads of planes plus sold the UK supplies at the most critical time. Turkey has been the Only country that challenged Russia with Assad in Syria and Libya with Haftar. Yes it paid for the S400… Read more »

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

When did the NHS fall apart? 😃

I guess you never travel out of the country do you? The UK health system falling apart due covid in spring was the first thing everyone overseas asked Brits. Britain has the highest death toll in Europe and leads still in this second wave . That pretty much says a lot of how broken the system that nobody dares to speak about is when it has more deaths than Romania .

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

You watch a lot of MSM TV news don’t you? All you’ve done is made some statements . Look you are perfectly entitled to believe what you want as am I and I stress I don’t want to fall out so i’ll Moderate my usual lingo and respectfully disagree. In my line of work I come into contact with the workings of the nhs regularly and am a regular visitor to a very large hospital in my county. I also have cause to access health centres around the county again frequently. As such I speak to Dr’s ,consultants , nurses… Read more »