Search our content

Home  /  Newsroom  /  News Archive  /  2023  /  NATO concludes Vigilance Activity NEPTUNE STRIKE 2023-1

Mar 1 2023

NATO concludes Vigilance Activity NEPTUNE STRIKE 2023-1

The Mediterranean and Baltic Sea, 28th February 2023: a multinational alliance concludes nine days of Vigilance Activity, named Neptune Strike 2023-1. 31 ships, 135 aircraft, and 8,386 Sailors and Marines from 21 countries conducted deterrence and assurance through execution of a broad spectrum of sea, air, and land activities. Neptune Strike 2023-1 (NEST 23.1) has demonstrated that the maritime partnerships of the NATO Alliance, now operating in its seventh decade, remain strong and just as relevant as ever.


Under the command of U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, NEST 23.1 was planned and directed by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), operating out of Oeiras, Portugal.

"I'm proud of this team's performance in displaying interchangeability while conducting extremely complex high-end activities," said Vice Adm. Ishee, commander of both STRIKFORNATO and U.S. Sixth Fleet. “The security environment is uncertain; NATO's capability and will is not. Enabled by trust, the agility, ingenuity and tenacity demonstrated by the Sailors, Marines, and Airmen deter aggression and show we are ready to defend the Alliance.”

The vigilance activity centered on three strike groups: the USS George HW Bush, ITS Cavour, and ESPS Juan Carlos I, all operating in the Mediterranean. These forces combined saw over 31 ships and 87 aircraft operating in close coordination, including F-35B, F/A-18E/F/G, AV-8B, and E-2D along with numerous helicopters and supporting assets. Supporting units from Greece, Türkiye, Croatia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Albania all contributed forces to make all of these activities an unparalleled success.

In the Baltic Sea, destroyers USS Arleigh Burke and German frigate FGS Hessen participated in complex simulated targeting serials, demonstrating NATO’s ability to coordinate across vast distances and differing environments to deter aggression and deliver deterrence and defense of the Alliance.

In total, 37 vigilance activities took place over the course of NEST 23.1, consisting of 198 aircraft sorties, two joint personnel recovery exercises, and two simulated tri-carrier strike operations. The latter being the first time three aircraft carriers had performed simulated strikes of this nature under the NATO flag.

While the numbers are impressive, what the successful execution of NEST 23.1 represents is the determination of NATO as ONE alliance to defend all of its member states through its advanced capabilities and interchangeability.


French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, under national command joined the three NATO strike groups operating in the Mediterranean, increasing the allied aircraft carrier count in the region to four, Feb. 23, 2023. Over the course of two days the Charles de Gaulle along with her embarked air wing of Rafale fighter aircraft coordinated with the other three carriers to perform simulated carrier strike and carrier defense activities strengthening collective defence.

Additionally, USS Arleigh Burke and FGS Hessen joined forces in the Baltic Sea to engage and destroy a Danish drone aircraft as a demonstration of NATO’s ability to conduct Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Feb. 24, 2023. These activities and others prove that NATO has both the resolve and technical capabilities to answer any threat, anywhere, at any time!


NEST 23.1 is the natural evolution of NATO's ability to integrate the high-end maritime strike capabilities of Allied aircraft carrier strike groups and expeditionary strike groups to support the defense of the Alliance.

STRIKFORNATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe's (SACEUR) premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations.

To see more pictures from NEST 23.1, make sure to check out NATO’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and use #NeptuneStrike.

Story by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

Search our content:


Reduto Gomes Freire
Estrada Da Medrosa
2780 - 070 Oeiras

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Reduto Gomes Freire
Estrada Da Medrosa
2780 - 070 Oeiras