By Public Affairs Office, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command is participating in the 51st iteration of exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) via the embarked Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) detachments aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), along with forward deployed Sailors, Marines, and civilians from U.S. Sixth Fleet (C6F) METOC, Fleet Weather Center Anti-Submarine Detachment (FWCASWDET) Sigonella and Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center (NOMWC), June 5-17, 2022.
The METOC detachments, embarked aboard Kearsarge, originated from Strike Group Oceanography Team – Norfolk (SGOT-N). The team is charged with providing commanders and escort ships timely and tactically relevant environmental analysis and prediction. The METOC detachment’s continuous environmental analysis enhances decision superiority, mission accomplishment, and interoperability during BALTOPS 22.
The team’s on-scene environmental forecasting enables safe conduct of 24/7 operations across focus areas including command and control, aviation operations, amphibious assault, personnel recover, and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).
During the exercise, Naval Oceanography is working with Ally and partners nations’ METOC teams at Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO’s (STRIKFORNATO) headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal. French METOC personnel are assisting with exercise control and informing participants about weather conditions.
“METOC at STRIKEFORNATO’s main job is giving large picture information on the Baltic Sea, as well as advising the exercise leads on the sea state, weather, cloud cover, and a myriad of other concerns – all contributing to the exercise’s success, or how an event in the exercise would or could be executed,” said French navy Lt. j.g. Emilie, BALTOPS22 METOC lead. “For me, BALTOPS22 has been an interesting experience – not only because I’ve met different Sailors from all the participating nations, but because some of my international team has different standards and practices for gathering information, but the issues we experience, and the objectives we have are the same – it’s how we get there that is different.”
NOMWC provided an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Platoon (UUV PLT) with eight personnel and a Data Fusion Cell (DFC, 5 personnel) to collaborate with Baltic partners for mine countermeasures (MCM) change detection, environmental analysis, and MCM contact identification.
The UUV PLT is currently conducting underwater surveys with scenario and real-world applications to ensure safe execution, as well as providing commanders with an operational picture of the underwater environment.
“The teamwork between METOC and oceanography is incredibly important for both our training and for a successful mission,” said Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Ian Carnley, BALTOPS22 METOC deputy. “The information we provide – information of the surface and below surface sea state and sea temperature – can impact the deployment and sonar effectiveness of the UUV, which is why we need to work closely together.”
BALTOPS 22 is the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region. The exercise, led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and executed by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, provides a unique training opportunity to strengthen combined response capabilities critical to preserving freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
For more information about Naval Oceanography, contact cnmoc_stns_paoweb@.navy.mil or 228-688-4147. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (Naval Oceanography), Twitter (@NavyOceans), and LinkedIn.