Exercise Baltops successfully concluded

The largest maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea of 2020, exercise Baltops concluded this week. 

​Text by and Jakob Østheim

The annual exercise Baltops was held for the 49th time this year. The goal is to strengthen the cooperation within NATO and between the alliance and its partner nations.

A total of 28 ships, 28 aircraft and 3000 sailors, airmen and marines from 19 nations participated. This also includes Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1).

Standing together

The scenario took place in the Southern Baltic Sea from 7 to 17 June. Norwegian Commander of SNMG1 Yngve Skoglund said:

"This is an important exercise for allied and partner nations around the Baltic. The Baltic nations rely on freedom of access and trade within the Baltic sea; this exercise aims to demonstrate to these nations that NATO stands with them to protect their interests."

During the exercise, he commanded a task group consisting of four frigates, destroyers and a logistical ship.

"We are experiencing challenging times. But I am happy to say that covid-19 has not influenced any of our planned operational activities in SNMG1 in 2020."

Integrating with partners

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1 also took part in the exercise. The fleet has had great achievements and training benefits together with allies and partners.

During the entire period, the non-NATO minehunter FNS "Purunpää" fully integrated to their task group, consisting of seven mine countermeasures vessels, two unmanned drones and one logistical ship from five nations.

"It is nice to see the successful integration of one of NATO's partner countries. We communicated on the same frequencies and operated with the same NATO procedures, resulting in a smooth integration. The experience of being part of a larger task force with more complex scenarios has really given SNMCMG1 great training outcomes", said the Norwegian commander of SNMCMG1, Henning Knudsen-Hauge.

Exercise Baltops is an annual multinational maritime focused exercise. It is designed to improve training value for participants, enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner forces in defending the Baltic Sea region.

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Published 17 June 2020 16:05.. Last updated 17 June 2020 16:14.