The annual maritime-led joint Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 22) exercise, which will involve 14 NATO allies, two partner nations Sweden and Finland, more than 7,000 sailors, airmen and marines, 75 aircraft and 45 ships, is slowly gearing up for the official kick-off on June 5.
The two-week maneuver will be the 51st iteration of the maritime focused training in the Baltic Region.
The exercise has been conducted since 1972 and will be linked to the 500th anniversary of the Royal Swedish Navy and – for the second time – to the German-led Multinational Air Group Days (MAGDAYs) exercise, another stepping stone of combined interaction and operations.
“During BALTOPS 22 NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany will direct all air operations and synchronize them with the maritime activities, with the focus on freedom of movement and security in the Maritime Domain,” said Major General Harold Van Pee, Commander of CAOC Uedem, “In these challenging times, we are proud to support this long-standing exercise that enables complex and meaningful Air-Maritime-Integration for our Allies and Partners.”
The specialists for air power in Uedem, will command and control all air operations, providing a unique training opportunity to plan, coordinate and deconflict NATOs real world activities with the multinational and joint BALTOPS air activities.
Starting in Stockholm, Sweden with a pre-sail event, and ending in Kiel, Germany, the training will have two more phases: a combat enhancement training and a force integration training with a tactical segment of air defense to strengthen the cohesion and capabilities of NATO Allies and Partners in all three domains – air, land and sea. The main aim is to further interoperability in the sector of amphibious and freedom-of-navigation operations, maritime interdiction, anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, medical evacuation at sea and joint personnel recovery to demonstrate both NATO’s defensive nature and the readiness to defend the Baltic region.
With both Sweden and Finland participating, NATO says it is “seizing the chance in an unpredictable world to enhance its joint force resilience and strength together with two aspirants for Alliance membership in a combined effort.”