The Nato-led multinational annual submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Manta (DYMA21) has commenced off the coast of Sicily in Italy.

Eight 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.

Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the US are the participating allies in the exercise.

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

“With a constantly evolving threat posture, this exercise is a chance to enhance our naval forces’ war fighting skills in all three dimensions of anti-submarine warfare in a multinational and multi-threat environment.”

The exercise will allow participating nations to train with each other in complex and challenging warfare. The personnel can enhance interoperability and improve ASW and anti-surface warfare skills.

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Nato said that submarines from Greece, Italy, Turkey and the US under Nato Submarine Command are joining surface ships from France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey in the exercise.

French Carrier Strike Group Charles De Gaulle is also joining the training this year, alongside five surface units from France, Belgium, Greece and the US.

SNMG2 commander rear admiral Manuel Aguirre Alderguia said: “Dynamic Manta is one of the two major anti-submarine warfare exercises led every year by Nato Maritime Command.

“SNMG2, as a Nato Standing Force, usually participates in this type of exercises, focused not only on training and keeping the high readiness of the force but also on enhancing cohesion and interoperability between force contributing nations, showing Nato presence and assuring allies of the maritime commitment to collective defence.”

The exercise will run until 5 March.