BALTOPS 18 continues with tactical phase
30 ships from 12 NATO and Partner Nations sail in formation in the Baltic Sea during exercise BALTOPS 18 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/Released)
Jun 11, 2018
ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY, Baltic Sea – Maritime, air, and ground forces participating in exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018 have concluded the first portion of integrated training and are now set to play the tactical phase of the exercise. Over 40 ships, 60 aircraft, and a combined force of Marines are taking part in the 46th iteration of BALTOPS, one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe.
Intentionally complex, the exercise is divided into two phases, challenging participants to respond to a variety of threats and unfamiliar scenarios. The first phase allows ships, aircraft, and ground forces to rehearse common tactics, techniques, and procedures under a scripted programme of events, enabling them to safely operate together as a force.
During the first six days of the exercise, participating forces trained in a wide range of combat operations, including air defence, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, and amphibious manoeuvres. Throughout this integration period, the maritime forces were able to complete 100 serials, air assets totalled more than 190 sorties, and the combined force of U.S. and Romanian Marines executed two landings.
Complete with the first phase, the forces have now shifted into the free-play portion, where commanders are given more freedom to run their own tactical programme.
"As our maritime task force builds interoperability we shift from programmed training events into a free play dynamic exercise in which ‘Blue’ and ‘Red’ forces will use their tactical skills and initiative to achieve their military objectives. This makes BALTOPS a challenging and highly rewarding exercise for all participants, improving readiness and ensuring that we maximise training value.” says Rear Admiral Guy Robinson, Deputy Commander of STRIKFORNATO.
Initiated in 1972, BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Sea region and one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe. For the fourth consecutive year, STRIKFORNATO has overall responsibility on the planning and lead of the exercise.