BALTOPS 2020 to take place ‘exclusively at sea’ due to COVID-19

The 49th Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise, the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, will take place in the Baltic Sea from June 7 to 16.

BALTOPS 2019. Photo: US Navy

This year’s exercise will take place exclusively at sea to ensure the safety and health of participating military personnel.

“This precaution allows units to enhance multinational operational cooperation, while ensuring that crews remain healthy, and ready to provide continuous regional security,” the US Navy said in a statement.

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Brandon Castillo looks through binoculars aboard the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) as the ship returns from its support in exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019.
Photo: US Navy

Air and maritime assets from NATO allies and partner nations are involved in the live training events. Training focus areas include air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction, and mine countermeasures operations.

The exercise is said to enhance flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate international resolve to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region.

BALTOPS 2020 involves participation from 19 nations. As informed, the 17 NATO and 2 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.

Initiated in 1972, BALTOPS is an annual exercise that is a visible demonstration of NATO’s commitment to promote peace and security in the region by exercising the forces that can rapidly respond in a time of crisis.

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