Entering the Baltic Sea on Monday 10 June, the amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Mistral began NATO’s annual exercise, BALTOPS alongside the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Auvergne and the Atlantic Clearance Diver Base (BBPD) Styx.

This first week, devoted to joint Franco-Swedish training, strengthened cooperation in the amphibious field with Sweden, a member state of the alliance since March 2024.

These exercises involved the entire crew of the PHA, reinforced by the Army to form a level 1 amphibious group (GA1) composed of the 9th Marine Infantry Brigade, the 6th Light Armored Brigade and the 4th BAC (Air Combat Brigade). In addition to these resources, there is a detachment of the amphibious flotilla, an S-100 drone detachment of the 36F flotilla as well as a section of marines.

Thus, the 2nd Marine Battalion of the Swedish forces trained with the French forces in an inter-allied interoperability approach. Marines and soldiers of the Army have made landings via CB90 combat boat. These operations made it possible to study several configurations in the PHA raft and thus the Mistral’s force projection capacity.

For its part, the Army’s light aviation (ALAT) has been training to drop Swedish troops at strategic points. The Cougars of the 5e Combat Helicopter Regiment have conducted various exercises aimed at facilitating the embarkation and disembarkation of Swedish troops from the Special Air Forces. In addition, a drop of Swedish divers was carried out from a Cougar.

Finally, guided by Swedish, French and English forward air traffic controllers (JTAC), the Gazelle and the Tiger on board the Mistral carried out firing exercises.

The highlight of this week was the landing of 500 Swedish and French soldiers from the PHA Mistral. Combining different means of landing via barge and helicopters, this operation made it possible to position the troops on different islands.

This exercise demonstrates the interoperability between Swedish and French forces as well as their willingness to participate in the alliance’s defensive and deterrent posture.