Home Europe US, European navies begin BALTOPS maneuver rehearsals

US, European navies begin BALTOPS maneuver rehearsals

The frigate Peter Willemores on its way to BALTOPS 23. Photo: Forsvaret

The annual maritime-led joint Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 23) exercise, which will involve 19 NATO allies and Sweden as a partner country, more than 6,000 sailors, airmen, and marines, 60 aircraft, and 50 ships, is slowly gearing up for the official kick-off on June 4.

The two-week maneuver will be the 52nd iteration of the maritime-focused training in the Baltic Region and will take place in the period 4 to 16 June.

It will be led by US Navy Forces Europe and Africa and NATO. 

With the start in Tallinn, Estonia, the exercise will take place across the Baltic Sea, including the airspace and sea areas of the participating Baltic Sea nations. Similar to the previous year, the BALTOPS exercise concludes in Kiel, Germany.

This year’s exercise will focus on practicing air defense, maritime blockade, anti-submarine warfare, and amphibious operations within a joint defense environment, ensuring the forces are prepared to operate and respond effectively to any potential security threats within the Baltic Sea region.

As a fully integrated NATO member, Finland’s participation marks a transition from its previous role as a partner country, highlighting its enhanced status and deeper engagement within the alliance.  

Notably, as a key aspect of Danish involvement, the frigate Peter Willemoes assumes the role of the flagship, leading a fleet of around 10 warships for the duration of the exercise.

In addition, Denmark’s contribution extends to the provision of the Mine Counter Measures (MCM) demining force, which operates in conjunction with an American-led naval force.

“For the Swedish Navy, BALTOPS provides a unique opportunity to train operations in several domains – air, surface, and underwater – simultaneously and in cooperation with our allied countries. So that Denmark, together with our allies, remains ready to defend NATO countries in the Baltic Sea region and ensure stability and peace. In addition, the Swedish Navy practices the ability to lead an international naval force with a command staff,” said Deputy Commander of the Swedish Navy Command Flotilla Admiral Carsten Fjord-Larsen.