The US Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) have commenced vigilance activity Neptune Strike 2022.2 (NEST 22.2).

The activity started on 14 October at STRIKFORNATO’s headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal.

NEST 22.2 is the eighth phase of Nato’s Project Neptune, which is a long-planned series conceptualised in 2020.

The latest phase has been launched after successful completion of the project’s previous phases, including Neptune Challenge held in October and November last year, Neptune Strike in January and February 2022 and Neptune Shield in May this year.

The current activity aims to bring together all the Nato commands working with different allied nations for planning and executing several multi-domain vigilance activities in realistic environment.

NEST 22.2 involves participation of around 19 allied and partner nations, including the US, France, Canada, the UK, Greece, Romania, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Türkiye, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Albania, Sweden and Finland.

At the focus of this activity will be the US Navy’s George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), which is on a scheduled deployment in the Mediterranean Sea since August.

The strike force was deployed by the US Sixth Fleet to safeguard allied and partner nations in the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations.

The vigilance activity will see US Sixth Fleet performing a transfer of authority (Toa ) of the GHWBCSG to STRIKFORNATO.

Once official TOA is complete, the GHWBCSG along with other nations’ forces will demonstrate alliance’s interoperability and ability to operate in the European waters.

SIXTHFLT and STRIKFORNATO commander vice admiral Thomas Ishee said: “NEST 22.2 is example of Nato’s ability to integrate high-end maritime warfare capabilities of an allied carrier strike group, ensuring our collective ability to deter and defend.”