As the BALTOPS exercise enters its second week, the Royal Navy say that the demanding opening stage tested the crew of HMS Kent to the limit.
Exercise BALTOPS is the largest annual multinational exercise in the Baltic Sea. Its purpose is to test the skills and capabilities of the participating nations and their ability to fight together.
The frigate is one of two Royal Navy warships joining more than two dozen vessels, a similar number of aircraft and upwards of 3,000 military personnel in the annual international test of naval and air power, in 2020 in its 49th year.
According to a Royal Navy news release here:
“Portsmouth-based Kent has covered well over 500 miles during Baltops 2020 from the southern Baltic and around the Danish island of Bornholm, to the Latvian coastline. As the exercise name suggests, the goal of Baltops is to test the ability of NATO and allied/partner nations to guarantee the freedom and security of nations with a Baltic coastline. In that context, the exercise runs the gamut of seafaring and naval warfare: air and submarine defence, surface warfare, manoeuvring with other vessels in close proximity, sailors falling overboard (and being rescued by the swimmer of the watch), refuelling (courtesy of the American USNS Supply).
It’s been a busy year since we last operated in The Baltic Region and participated in #Baltops. Since then we’ve been to 🇬🇮 🇬🇷 🇧🇭 🇴🇲 🇦🇪 🇲🇹 🇬🇮, the Arctic Circle, the Barents Sea and the Atlantic. https://t.co/QZVatvPtqv
— HMS Kent (@hms_kent) June 8, 2020
The upper deck gunners tested their marksmanship with machine-guns and Miniguns (ship-mounted Gatling guns) and the 30mm Automatic Small Calibre Gun (ASCG) against dummy surface targets before ‘air attacks’ as Banshee drones – 9ft long, 8ft wingspan, moving at about 120mph – were deployed against Kent. Also put to the test were the flight team as maintainers prepared and loaded a dummy Sting Ray for the Merlin helicopter, which promptly headed off on a sortie with the torpedo at the ready.”
The Royal Navy add that aside from HMS Kent, minehunter HMS Ramsey is also involved in the exercise, working as part of a NATO mine warfare task group which she joined last month.