The UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is gearing up for the next phase of its first major maritime training deployment.

The upcoming phase will test the JEF’s ability to respond rapidly to threats and crises in the Baltic region.

Known as Baltic Protector, the deployment involves 3,000 military personnel and 17 vessels from nine countries, including the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

The third phase of Baltic Protector comes close on the heels of BALTOPS 2019 Nato exercise, and will include covert amphibious raids, urban ambushes and counter-mine training.

During this stage, Royal Marines and Royal Navy ships will work with JEF allies from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

The marines will take part in two exercises on the eastern shores of the Baltic.

Amphibious Task Group commander commodore James Parkin said: “A JEF task group would probably be first on the scene in Northern Europe because we’re already in the area where the crisis is.

“We are designed to fit into a larger Nato task group, but we can operate independently should we need to.”

The training between British commandos and Lithuanian Armed Forces will focus on urban surveillance and ambush tactics. The commandos will also train with the Estonian Defence League.

The third phase will also see Royal Engineer Commandos conduct urban defensive training with Latvian Armed Forces.

In addition, JEF will work with the British Army and Royal Air Force colleagues who are engaged in Nato duties.

These training activities will test the ability of the JEF to work together as a unit and prepare for future missions.

The JEF was part of the recently concluded Baltops, during which it operated under the newly-established US 2nd Fleet command.

The task group was established at the 2014 Nato Summit.