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Frigate HMS Iron Duke is playing the role of an enemy warship to give a NATO fleet a realistic threat which it must try to counter in an exercise scenario.

BALTOPS is an annual exercise which tests the 16 allied and partner maritime nations taking part. The helicopter carrier will be taking part in one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, which aims to assure nations of NATO’s commitment to the security and stability of the region.

Exercise BALTOPS will take place over the next 10 days to demonstrate the unity of NATO allies and partners in the region whilst indicating strength in providing security in the Baltic Region.

HMS Iron Duke is a Type 23 frigate, her original design role was anti-submarine warfare, but she can be employed in a variety of roles. She carries a Lynx Helicopter which can be used in an anti-submarine and anti-surface role as well as for humanitarian and search and rescue purposes.

HMS Iron Duke was deployed as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for five months and is now taking part in BALTOPS.

According to the Royal Navy:

“The Ship is playing the role of opposing (enemy) forces to give the rest of the NATO participants and partner nations a realistic and complex threat which it must try to counter in the exercise scenario.”

As part of this, HMS Iron Duke is leading her own Task Group comprising Iron Duke as Flagship, 4 German Patrol boats, a Lithuanian warship and a support tender.

The Royal Navy added:

“The role of the opposing forces is to simulate a threat, and Iron Duke along with her attached patrol boats have been injecting increasingly threatening behaviour towards their real-life NATO Allies to force them to react and train together.

The scripted scenario is all carefully stage managed by Exercise Control, the headquarters responsible for developing the scenario safely and achieving all training objectives.

As part of her temporary role as the ‘bad guy’, Iron Duke has been approaching BALTOPS warships, hailing them to keep clear and releasing propaganda via simulated news websites and social media feeds to provide a realistic narrative to which the Strategic Communications officers in the NATO formation can react.”

HMS Iron Duke has been the ‘First of Class fit’ for the Royal Navy’s new Type 997 Artisan 3D, successfully firing her missile system using the new radar combined with an updated ‘Seawolf missile targeting system.

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