Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) are taking part in the 52nd iteration of Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 23).
The exercise takes place between 4-16 June, and is led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet, command-and-controlled by STRIKFORNATO.
BALTOPS is a significant annual exercise in the Baltic Sea, providing an opportunity for allied and partner nations to train together – building trust across air, land, and sea while improving interoperability between nations.
“This premier exercise is more important than ever in these waters at this time. It is contributing to the deterrence of potential adversaries, and underlines the ability to defend and reassure Allies and Partners,” said the Commander of SNMG1, German Rear Admiral Thorsten Marx. “We stand together to ensure a safe, stable and secure Baltic Sea region. Exercises like BALTOPS are proof that the maritime partnerships of the Alliance, now in their seventh decade, remain as robust and relevant as ever.”
BALTOPS remains an alliance proving ground, and is vital for honing the leading edge of combined interoperability with allies and partner nations, in and around the Baltic Sea. This year, Finland is welcomed as a NATO member, among nineteen NATO Allies and one NATO partner nation, with 50 ships, more than 45 aircraft, and approximately 6,000 personnel. Participating nations include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
These countries will exercise a myriad of capabilities, demonstrating the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. Exercise scenarios include amphibious, gunnery, anti-submarine, air defense, and mine clearance operations, as well as explosive ordnance disposal, unmanned underwater and surface vehicle exercises, and medical responses.
Previously, Finland has participated as a partner nation in the exercise, which was first held in 1972. With Finland, 7 Allied nations bordering the Baltic Sea are participating in this year’s BALTOPS, providing a unique training opportunity to strengthen the combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea.