NATO Announces BALTOPS 2020 Exercise in the Baltic Region
The 49th Baltic Operations BALTOPS exercise, the first maritime-focused drill in the Baltic Region, will take place in the Baltic Sea from June 7-16, 2020. The training exercise will involve both air and maritime assets from NATO allies and partner nations.
BALTOPS 2020 involves participation from 19 nations. The 17 NATO and two partner nations will provide 29 maritime units, 29 aircraft, and 3,000 personnel.
The participating nations are Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.
Training core areas embrace air defense, anti-submarine combat, naval blockade, and mine countermeasures operations. The training aims at improving flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations to fortify collective reaction capabilities, as well as display international determination to ensure stability in, and if necessary, defend the Baltic Sea region.
Also, the 49th Baltic Operation will resume the job, commenced during BALTOPS 2019, of detecting and destroy naval mines and other explosives placed during World War I and World War II. More than 80,000 mines and explosive devices are estimated to be still underwater, posing a threat to vessels sailing on and in the Baltic Sea.
Predictably, Russia will perform a similar exercise in the area, as occurred in the latest sessions. Up to now, last week, Russian newest large landing ship (LLS) “Pyotr Morgunov” completed artillery firing test at sea as part of the final stage of trials. The Russian Navy received LLS Pyotr Morgunov in 2018. The new LLS is the largest in the Russian fleet and can carry 13 tanks or over 30 APCs and IFVs as well as a transport helicopter. Its range is 4000 miles and the displacement of 5, 000 tons.
During the firing tests at sea, Ka-27 helicopters and Su-30SM, Su-27 and Su-24 aircraft of the Baltic Sea Fleet flew over the Morgunov, imitating the activities of a mock opponent air attack at different speeds, heights, and distances, to checking the ship’s radio systems, radar stations, and air defense equipment.
To ensure the safety and health of contributing military personnel, BALTOPS 2020 will take place exclusively at sea. This provision allows units to develop multinational operational cooperation while safeguarding that crews stay healthy and ready to provide uninterrupted regional security.
Created in 1972, BALTOPS is an annual training designated to display NATO’s commitment to endorsing peace and security in the area by using military forces able to react in a time of crisis rapidly.