Dynamic Manta is NATO’s premier Submarine Warfare Exercise.
The exercise has been going off the Sicilian coast since the 2nd of March and will finish on the 16th of March.
Due to the nature of anti-submarine warfare the exercise remains one of the most challenging exercises for NATO forces. It provides allied nations with an excellent opportunity for their forces to practice together in a pure joint environment and simultaneously provides NATO the ability to evaluate and further develop Allied Anti-Submarine tactics.
This year submarines from Canada, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, under the control of NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), will join 9 surface ships from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA.
In total 10 Allied nations are converging their ships, submarines, aircraft and crews for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW) training on the Central Mediterranean Sea. The host nation Italy is providing support from the Augusta Naval Base, Catania Harbour and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania.
To support the simulated multi-threat environment, 10 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 8 Helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of personnel from NATO Maritime Air Command.
HMS Duncan is one of the high-value targets submarines are after during Dynamic Manta 18. 814 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons and a pair of Merlin helicopters have been tasked to protect the warship.
HMS Daring is primarily an anti-air platform and as such, has limited ability to hunt submarines.
As well as anti-submarine warfare, a Royal Navy press release says there will also be surface attacks for the nine participating surface ships – from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA – to fend off.
“As anti-submarine-warfare includes all three dimensions, special attention needs to be placed upon the air – it’s important for aircrews from various NATO nations’ to come and train together in this truly challenging environment,” explained Greece’s Commodore Andreas Vettos, overseeing the aerial element of the exercise.
“Our sailors study and work hard to develop their undersea abilities. Dynamic Manta will give our airborne, surface, and submarine teams a valuable chance to test themselves during complex scenarios,” said Rear Admiral Andrew Lennon, the American in charge of NATO’s submarine forces – and the man in charge of the exercise.
“The long list of ships, submarines, and aircraft participating clearly shows NATO’s commitment to maritime training.”