The Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO) has concluded Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 20 in the Baltic region.

BALTOPS is a maritime exercise conducted annually to enhance interoperability and flexibility among allied and partner forces.

BALTOPS 20 commenced on 7 June and saw the participation of 28 air and 28 maritime assets from 17 Nato and two partner nations.

The nations participating in the exercise consisted of Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US.

This was the sixth STRIKFORNATO-led BALTOPS and was the first complete maritime exercise.

US 6th Fleet commander STRIKFORNATO and commander US Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti said: “For almost half a century BALTOPS has brought allied and partner nations together at sea to develop the tactical and technical skills that enable us to conduct the full spectrum of maritime operations.

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“This solid foundation of partnership extends beyond these two weeks, throughout the year, to provide a maritime network that ensures stability and security in the Baltic Sea region, as well as across Europe and the Atlantic.”

During the two week long exercise, ships and aircraft conducted air, surface, subsurface, and mine warfare operations.

The exercise ensured the health for all participating forces and took all safety precautions in the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

STRIKFORNATO Royal Navy deputy commander Rear Admiral Guy Robinson OBE said: “For STRIKFORNATO, this BALTOPS has proved our ability to command from our Joint Operations Centre here in Lisbon, some 1,400 miles from the southern Baltic Sea where our forces our operating.

“The Covid pandemic has undoubtedly made the planning for this year’s exercise more challenging. It has also forced us to do things differently, and in some cases better.”