Exercise BALTOPS 18 concludes in Kiel
KIEL, Germany – Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 18), concluded today, 15 June, with ships and forces arriving in Kiel, Germany.
BALTOPS is an annual maritime exercise, designed to improve flexibility and interoperability among the participants. Air, maritime, and amphibious assets from 22 NATO Allies and Partners took part in the live training event that set sail from Klaipeda, Lithuania on 3 June.
For two weeks, ships, aircraft, and marines conducted live-fire training, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, air defence, and amphibious operations. The exercise was also marked by the addition of new events.
"Joint personnel recovery has been included for the first time, with a focus on recovery in the maritime domain. The mine countermeasure (MCM) units also participated in several operational and technological experimentation measures, designed to advance our collective efforts in mine warfare" said Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO).
The BALTOPS programme also featured a particular focus on mission command. "We have empowered task group commanders and their subordinates with a challenging 'free-play' exercise which has tested tactical cunning, initiative and cooperation with air and land forces", said Rear Admiral Guy Robinson, Deputy Commander of STRIKFORNATO. "I have been most impressed with notably improved teamwork, interoperability and warfighting effectiveness that all participants have demonstrated over the last two weeks."
Over 40 ships, 60 aircraft, and combined force of Marines took part in BALTOPS 18, one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe. For the fourth consecutive year, STRIKFORNATO had overall responsibility on planning and leading the exercise.