The 46th iteration of the multinational maritime-focused activity, Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018, has commenced in the Baltic Sea.
The live training event started from Klaipeda, Lithuania, and is set to conclude in Kiel, Germany.
It will involve the participation of several air, maritime and ground assets from various NATO ally and partner countries.
BALTOPS 2018 is expected to focus on different areas of training such as air defence, live-fire training, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, and maritime interdiction, as well as mine countermeasures, air defence, and amphibious operations.
The exercise has been designed to improve flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations in order to boost their combined response capabilities, in addition to demonstrating the international resolve required to ensure stability and defend the Baltic Sea region.
BALTOPS chief of staff colonel Garth Manger said: “This is the 46th BALTOPS exercise and the fourth that STRIKFORNATO has had the privilege to lead.
“The planning has been detailed and we are now set for a successful two weeks in the Baltic region.
“This year we have brought together a strong maritime Task Force of over 40 ships with first-class support from over 60 aircraft and 4,700 sailors, marines and airmen, representing 22 Nato and partner nations.
“Throughout the exercise we will be practicing our ability to dominate the maritime battlespace and demonstrate how Nato and partners can come together and fight as one.”
The 16 partner nations that contributed forces to participate in the BALTOPS exercise are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and the US.
Personnel were also provided by Canada, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia.
Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO) are responsible for overseeing the operation of this year’s BALTOPS event.