The 51st iteration of the multinational annual maritime-focused Baltic Operations exercise has commenced in the Baltic Sea.

The exercise, also known as BALTOPS 22, commenced on 5 June and will conclude on 17 June.

More than 45 ships, 75 aircraft, and around 7,000 personnel from 14 Nato allies and two Nato partner nations are taking part in the exercise.

It is being hosted by Sweden, a partner country since the mid-1990s.

US Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO) commander vice-admiral Gene Black said: “In past iterations of BALTOPS we’ve talked about meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

“Those challenges are upon us in the here and now. BALTOPS 22 highlights our past investments and shows our collective partnership and capabilities as we recognise the importance of ‘freedom of the seas’ and the vital role the Baltic plays in European prosperity.”

The exercise aims to strengthen the ability to maintain stability and safety in the immediate area.

Throughout its course, the exercise will see a variety of training drills including air defence, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine clearance, amphibious operations and medical operations.

US Naval Forces Europe and US Sixth Fleet are leading the exercise, while STRIKFORNATO is responsible for the command and control.

The UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 Daring-class destroyer HMS Defender along with Archer-class (P2000) fast inshore patrol craft HMS Archer, Charger, Explorer, Exploit, Ranger and HMS Smiter are taking part in the drills.

The warships will provide the speed and agility to swarm around participants in Baltops 22.

During the ten-day exercise, the P2000 boats of the Coastal Forces Squadron will demonstrate their swarm credentials, along with all Joint Expeditionary Force partner nation vessels including Lithuanian, Latvian and Norwegian.

The ships will also conduct swarm attacks as the BALTOPS progresses into dynamic phase.

HMS Exploit commander lieutenant Martin Head said: “This deployment marks the end of months of planning, allowing us to deploy and engage with multiple navies.

“There have been some fantastic and rewarding days, such as training with our Joint Expeditionary Force partners, allowing us to improve our capability together, and fantastically warm welcomes in some truly fantastic cities: Antwerp, The Hague, Hamburg, Copenhagen.”