Multinational exercise Baltops 2016 concludes

21 June 2016 (Last Updated June 21st, 2016 18:30)

Maritime forces from 17 nations and Nato have successfully concluded the 44th iteration of annual multinational naval exercise, Baltops 2016, in the Baltic Sea.

Baltops

Maritime forces from 17 nations and Nato have successfully concluded the 44th iteration of annual multinational naval exercise, Baltops 2016, in the Baltic Sea.

The two-week exercise witnessed the participation of more than 4,000 personnel, with over 40 ships and submarines, 60 more aircraft flying 90 sorties a day, and an 800-strong international force of marines.

The wargames were designed to allow the participating forces to hone their ability to fight alongside each other, and demonstrate interoperability and cooperation.

"We left our footprint in the Baltic, moving from Estonia, through Finland and Sweden, and into Poland, then finishing in Germany."

This year, the UK Royal Navy's amphibious assault flagship HMS Ocean participated in the exercise.

HMS Ocean was home to submarine-hunting Merlins from RNAS Culdrose, Royal Marines-carrying Merlins from Yeovilton, two RAF Chinooks from 27 Squadron, and four Army Air Corps Apaches.

UK Royal Marines senior operations officer colonel Garth Manger said: "Baltops is the exercise that just keeps giving; it's bigger and better each year.

"We left our footprint in the Baltic, moving from Estonia, through Finland and Sweden, and into Poland, then finishing in Germany.

"Our successful ability to operate with each other goes a long way in showing our collective resolve to maintain the peace and security in which this area thrives."

The exercise was conducted in three phases, and each stage lasted for three or four days, involving more than 100 different manoeuvres or actions.

The 17 nations were Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US.


Image: An Osprey aircraft lands on HMS Ocean during the exercise. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.