Over 45 warships gather in Baltic Sea to kick off major naval drill BALTOPS 22 – gallery

Major naval exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 22) with fourteen NATO allies, two NATO partner nations, and over 45 ships started in Stockholm on 5 June.

This maritime-focused annual exercise in the Baltic region takes place from 5 until 17 June 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.

This year marks the 51st time the exercise, which began in 1972, is conducted.

Participating nations include Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

These countries will exercise a myriad of capabilities demonstrating the flexibility of maritime forces. Exercise scenarios include amphibious operations, gunnery, anti-submarine, air defense, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, unmanned underwater vehicles, and medical response.

This year’s drill is also marked with the participation of two countries, Finland and Sweden. Unique to BALTOPS 22 is Sweden’s celebration of their Navy’s 500th anniversary coinciding with the exercise.

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 New to this year’s iteration is the incorporation of chaplaincy response, featuring five participating nation chaplains.

The exercise also builds on previous iterations by enhancing the incorporation of the space domain through the NATO Space Center.

Photo: NATO