Press Release - U.S. Army vehicles to convoy through Croatia for DEFENDER-Europe 21

May 14, 2021

DEFENDER-Europe 21 Webpage   (Related Site)
WIESBADEN, Germany —

A convoy of approximately 75 military vehicles and equipment, including Patriot air defense systems, will enter Croatia from Slovenia en route to Zemunik Air Base between May 14-16, 2021. 

The vehicles and equipment are part of exercise DEFENDER-Europe 21 under the umbrella of the associated U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa exercise, Astral Knight 21.

The vehicles will be operated by experienced military drivers from the U.S. Army 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  These movements will occur overnight and into the morning on the weekend to lessen the impact on public traffic; however, there may be temporary disruptions to road traffic.

All movements are approved, coordinated, and supported by all applicable local and national authorities. At the conclusion of the exercise, the equipment and personnel will return to Germany.

Astral Knight 21 

Astral Knight 21, a USAFE-AFAFRICA exercise linked to DEFENDER-Europe 21, seeks to strengthen relationships with allies and partners by building a joint, multinational air defense array capability. 

As part of AK21, 10th AAMDC’s Patriot battery, 5-7 Air Defense Artillery Regiment, will train shoulder-to-shoulder with Croatian allies, simulating air defense of exercise air and seaports and other assets. 

 “Defender-Europe 21 and Astral Knight 21 represent the first time the Patriot air defense system will join operations in Croatia, an exceptional step forward in our close NATO partnership,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory Brady, 10th AAMDC commanding general.

Patriot is a ground-based missile defense system which provides air-based threat coverage and is part of a two-tiered defense against theater ballistic missiles. Patriot systems are typically employed to protect maneuver forces and critical assets in all types of operations: they may be deployed individually or as part of an Air and Missile Defense task force to protect forces, airfields, seaports, transportation centers, population centers, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence activities, and geopolitical assets.

Media Opportunity

Media are invited to view the Patriot system and speak with command leaders and experts on May 19, 2021 at Zemunik Air Base.

Media interested in covering the air and missile defense portion of DEFENDER-Europe 21 in Croatia should contact the Croatian Ministry of Defense at Please send full name(s), media outlet name, position, contact information (e-mail address & cell phone number), and vehicle license plate data.  You will then receive further arrival instructions.

Photos, videos, news stories, and b-roll packages of DEFENDER-Europe 21 will be posted to All products are public domain and can be used by any media outlet. Media representatives can create a free account to download high resolution versions of the products.  To be added to our DEFENDER-Europe 21 distribution list, email To receive updates via RSS feed subscribe at or visit the DEFENDER-Europe 21 website for all the latest news and information.

  • U.S. Army Europe and Africa