The NATO-led multinational annual submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Manta has commenced off the coast of Sicily in Italy.

Ten allied nations have deployed their ships, submarines, and aircraft and personnel to take part in the exercise that involves anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare training on the central Mediterranean Sea.

Dynamic Manta 2019 involves submarines from Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, under the control of NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), and nine surface ships from the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Italy, Turkey, France, and Greece.

NATO Submarines Commander rear admiral Andrew Lennon said: “NATO’s annual ASW exercise Dynamic Manta remains one of the most challenging exercises and an excellent opportunity for NATO nations’ naval forces to practice and evaluate their anti-submarine skillset in a challenging environment.

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“This exercise is a unique opportunity to enhance naval forces’ warfighting skills in all three dimensions of ASW in a multinational and multi-threat environment. We appreciate the outstanding host nation support of the Italian Navy that is required to make this challenging and effective exercise happen.”

Hosted by Italy, the exercise will allow participating nations to train with each other in complex and challenging warfare to enhance interoperability and improve ASW and anti-surface warfare skills.

"A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson told Naval Technology that the Royal Navy had contributed two Merlin Mk2 helicopters and 67 Royal Navy personnel to take part in the exercise."

The Italian Navy will deliver support at Catania Harbour, the Navy Helicopter Base in Catania and Naval Air Station Sigonella. In addition, the country will provide logistic support, such as refuelling operations, medical assistance and personnel accommodation in Augusta Naval Base.

The drill features a simulated multi-threat environment supported by six maritime patrol aircraft and two helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson told Naval Technology that the Royal Navy had contributed two Merlin Mk2 helicopters and 67 Royal Navy personnel to take part in the exercise.

Each surface ship will take part in a variety of submarine warfare operations.

During the exercise, the submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted and work in coordination with the air and surface participants.

A special In-Stride Debriefing Team (IDT) will support Dynamic Manta 2019 by providing real-time analysis of the ASW training and disseminating debriefs to ships, submarines, and aircrews. Real-time analysis allows crews to make changes and improve performance, making them more prepared for ASW threats.