The Bulgarian Navy-led annual maritime exercise Breeze 2019 is underway in the Black Sea, which involves participating navies from a number of European countries and the US.

Exercise Breeze involves units from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Turkey, the US, and Nato’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM).

The exercise is designed to improve operational and tactical interoperability, enhance interagency cooperation, and evaluate Bulgarian Navy units.

US participation in this year’s exercise will include three P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft assigned to the ‘Red Lancers’ of Patrol Squadron (VP) 10.

Combined Task Force 67 commander and Breeze detachment officer-in-charge lieutenant Kevin Wunderly said: “We look forward to partnering with our allies in exercise Breeze to strengthen our relations, enhance our ability to conduct real-world operations, and build global maritime partnerships.

“We are committed to the goals of promoting a peaceful Europe and the belief that our nations are stronger through cooperation.”

The Breeze exercise has taken place every year since 1996.

Participating navies will have the opportunity to demonstrate interoperability and improve relationships.

The exercise will also include Standing Nato Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), comprising Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Toronto, Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis, the British frigate HMS Duncan, and Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand.

Breeze 2019 started on the same day when a separate exercise named Sea Breeze concluded in Odesa, Ukraine.

The Sea Breeze exercise was co-hosted by Ukraine and the US in the Black Sea. Other participants included Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK.

SNMG2 joined Breeze 2019 after participating in Sea Breeze.