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Five things you need to know about BALTOPS 2016

June 3, 2016 at 11:41 AM UTC
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

17 nations, 6,100 maritime, ground and air force troops, all working cooperatively. Now in its 44th year, BALTOPS brings together some things that are new, as well as the ‘tried and true’. Here’s five things you need to know about BALTOPS 2016

1. Mount Whitney is back!

Serving as the flagship for Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), 2015 saw USS Mount Whitney in a maintenance period, but now it’s back and better than ever, complete with all the upgrades a ship of her class needs. Mount Whitney is designed to be a command and control platform and brings this specialized capability to this year’s exercise.

2. Flexibility

It is the second year in a row that we are conducting major amphibious operations as part of the exercise. Deploying amphibious forces during BALTOPS allows us to demonstrate the use of sea-based platforms to rapidly reinforce a crisis area by delivering material, equipment and forces wherever and whenever they are needed. Forces include 60+ aircraft delivering close to 90 sorties a day,  joint/shared aircraft, approximately 800+ amphibious troops, and 45 ships and submarines.

3. Readiness

Forces that participate in this exercise will leave with a higher state of readiness, improved interoperability with forces from NATO and partner nations, and confidence in their ability to operate together in a time of crisis.

4. Experience

Not all participants have been around for all 44 iterations of BALTOPS. Experience must be learned. BALTOPS provides an excellent opportunity for personnel of participating nations to engage in realistic maritime training, to build experience, teamwork and strengthen our interoperability in order to promote security of the Baltic region.

5. Adaptability

You never know what the world will bring, but many hands make for light work. Bringing together forces from multiple nations to train together as one military demonstrates  the Alliance and its partners are ready for and capable of dealing with any contingency.

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