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Baltops 2018 Exercise

Baltops 2018 sea exercise started on the 1st of June on the Baltic sea. During the following 2 weeks, 43 ships and 60 planes will exercise joint actions. The event includes NATO, Sweden and Finland navies. MILMAG Military Magazine took part in the briefing provided by vice-admiral Lisa Franchetti, the CO of the American 6th fleet and by the rear-admiral Guy Robinson (Royal Navy) who is responsible for the course of the exercise.

The Baltic manoeuvres are the biggest of it`s kind in Northern Europe. The main target is cooperation training of the crews representing NATO and allies. Photo shows Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) during refuelling operation conducted by German supply ship Frankfurt am Main (A 1412) / Photo: Theron J. Godbold, US NAVY

Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Norway, Poland, Romania, United States, Turkey and Great Britain are taking part in the exercise. Vessels from Finland and Sweden are also present, so are crews from Estonia, Greece, Canada, Portugal, Slovakia and Italy.

Poland is represented by the 8. Flotylla Obrony Wybrzeża with the ORP Dabie, ORP Wicko,  ORP Gopło and ORP Wdzydze. ORP Kraków from 2. Dywizjon Okrętów Transportowo-Minowych is also taking part. Additionally, soldiers from various Polish units are also present.

HSwMS Södermanland submarine from Sweden is present at the manoeuvres. It`s a Södermanland class vessel (modernized Västergötland), equipped with atmospheric air independent Stirling propulsion. Similar vessels were proposed to Poland as a part of Orka program / Photo: Jakub Link-Lenczowski

Rear admiral Robinson assured MILMAG that the crews are ready for the challenging Baltic sea. He also emphasized that the participants are expecting Russian aeroplanes to be present near the training vessels, such as it happened at the last exercises. Counter admiral was also happy with the presence of Swedish and Finnish vessels as NATO-Scandinavia cooperation in the Baltic Sea has been ongoing for years.

Baltops 18 started with briefings and crew meetings where the tasks were distributed to the vessels commanding officers. The same meetings were also an opportunity to share experience and present equipment. Photo shows United States Marines meeting their counterparts from Romania / Photo: Dengrier M. Baez, USMC

According to the information provided by vice-admiral Lisa Franchetti vessels will complete a series of actions in both day and night conditions, following the prepared scenario. Training will include protection of shipping lanes, minesweeping of the port entrance, cooperation with land forces and air assets, etc. Crews will exercise boarding actions, inspection of civilian trade ships and counter-terrorist actions. The tasks are similar to those completed during the Russian-Chinese manoeuvres.

Baltops are organized on Baltic sea since 1972, with ex eastern-block countries taking part since 1993. At present, it`s an international exercise based on cooperation between various vessels. A big emphasis is put on anti-submarine actions, mine warfare, air defence and troop landing. Exercise will terminate in Kilonia (Germany). The event is organized by STRIKFORNATO (SFN) command and Polish Navy is taking part in Baltops for the 26th time.

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