BALTOPS 2019 Begins In Germany

June 7, 2019 – Maritime forces from 18 nations commenced the in-port operations for the 47th annual multinational exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) in the Baltic Sea, June 9-21.

BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region and one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations.

Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, will lead the exercise on behalf of Naval Forces Europe.

“No one nation can face today’s challenges alone, we are much stronger together,” Lewis said. “Our partner and NATO alliances must continue to strengthen our deterrence and defense efforts and adapt through improving readiness and responsiveness.”

The focus of the exercise is for ground, maritime and air forces to work together in exercising air defense, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, mine countermeasures and amphibious operations, to strengthen the development of joint teams across all layers of the battlespace.

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KIEL, Germany (June 5, 2019) Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Quentin Woods, assigned to the Dragon Whales of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, conducts a freshwater washdown of MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter aboard the Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) in preparation for Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jack D. Aistrup/Released)

The exercise will include the participation of 50 surface ships, 36 aircraft, two submarines and 8,600 personnel in a joint operational environment.

“I think BALTOPS represents the habit we have made in operating in a coalition environment and in a multinational environment,” said U.K. Royal Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Burns OBE. “One of the advantages, particularly in the NATO framework, as we operate together more and more we standardize our procedures so we now have a generation of military folk who are used to operating together with standard procedures.”

Nations participating in BALTOPS 2019 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

BALTOPS is an opportunity to promote partnerships, presence, and professionalism through an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region.