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NEWS | June 5, 2024

U.S. Sixth Fleet, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO to kick off BALTOPS 2024

By U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO Public Affairs

Twenty NATO Allies, more than 50 ships, more than 85 aircraft, and approximately 9,000 personnel kicked off the 53rd iteration of annual exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 24) today during the pre-sail conference kick-off event.  

BALTOPS is the premier maritime-focused annual military exercise in the Baltic Region gets underway June 7-20, and provides a unique training opportunity to strengthen the combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea. 

BALTOPS 24 brings the largest assembled coalition of amphibious and mine countermeasure forces in BALTOPS history.

“BALTOPS 24 is 75 years in the making – the premier example of the strongest and most successful alliance in world history.” said Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKEFORNATO) and U.S. 6th Fleet.

“This year we will exercise new capabilities, and celebrate Sweden’s place as the 32nd nation to join NATO Allies as we provide a clear deterrence message and deliver peace and security for one billion people on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.

Participating nations include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Of note, though Sweden has participated in BALTOPS for more than decade, this year will mark the first time Sweden will participate in the exercise as a member-nation and NATO Ally. BALTOPS remains an alliance proving ground, and is vital for honing the leading edge of combined interoperability with ally in partner nations, in and around the Baltic Sea.  

These countries will exercise a broad range of capabilities demonstrating the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. Exercise scenarios include amphibious, gunnery, anti-submarine, air defense, and mine clearance operations, as well as explosive ordnance disposal, unmanned underwater and surface vehicle exercises, and medical responses.  

While the exercise is led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet (NAVEUR-NAVAF/SIXTHFLT), it will be command-and-controlled by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal. STRIKFORNATO’s headquarters will host a large multinational coalition of liaison officers from each participating nation, working together and bringing unique personal and national strengths to the exercise’s control hub. Royal British Navy Rear Adm. Craig Wood, STRIKFORNATO deputy commander, will command the exercise control group. 

“This will be the first iteration of BALTOPS since NATO approved its new and comprehensive set of war fighting plans for the Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area.” said Wood. “We are very much looking forward to having all of NATO’s Baltic Nations fully involved as Alliance Members demonstrating unity and the ability to seamlessly operate together".

BALTOPS 24 is also part of the U.S. Department of Defense exercise series, Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE). LSGE is an umbrella term that incorporates several exercises and military activities, which enable the U.S. Joint Force to train with Allies and partners and improve shared understanding, trust and interoperability on security challenges across the globe.  

While the exercise is led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet, it will be command-and-controlled by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal.

Details of BALTOPS activities and imagery are available at Media interested in covering the exercise should contact the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Public Affairs Office at mail to: