From September 10, 2021, the Baltic Sea will again be the scene of one of the most important multinational exercises to improve strategic planning and tactical communication between the participating nations. The major maneuver “Northern Coasts” is an essential part of the cross-armed cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. The protection of the northern flank is an elementary focus of the German Navy when it comes to returning to national and alliance defense.
Under this year’s leadership of Sweden, more than 2000 soldiers from 14 nations will come together. Over 30 ships, 10 aircraft and various land units train the complex interaction of all actors in a fictitious location on land and in the sea area on Sweden’s coastline. The German Navy sends the frigate “Hamburg”, the mine-hunting boats “Weilheim” and “Sulzbach-Rosenberg” as well as a boarding team from the Seebataillon from Eckernförde to the north.
Major international exercises offer unique opportunities to familiarize yourself with unfamiliar coastal waters. The Baltic Sea in particular is a difficult area of operations. Straits, belts and sundes and shallow water represent a particular challenge. Keeping an overview here, operating and acting together is the basic idea behind this maneuver. Nonetheless, the aim of the maritime exercise is to strengthen the ability to pool national resources in order to carry out combined operations effectively and thereby maintain stability and security in the immediate vicinity.
The “Northern Coasts” exercise series was launched in 2007 by the German Navy and is abbreviated to NoCo. It is the main exercise of the inspector of the German Navy. Each year, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are responsible for the implementation; Sweden will play this role this year. This year participants are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Of the participating nations, Sweden and Finland are the two countries that do not belong to the North Atlantic Alliance but to the EU. For the German Navy, it is important to include the people bordering the Baltic Sea in a regional maritime security concept. To this end, in 2015 she founded the Baltic Commanders Conference, in which all naval commanders of the NATO and EU partners in the region take part.