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.
According to a Royal Navy press release:
“Due to an unexpected change to the ship’s programme, Iron Duke had to make rapid preparations to deploy and sustain herself in the Baltic with only a few days’ notice, from storing enough provisions to sustain the crew for a month away, collecting £110,000 worth of Polish Zloty, Danish Krone and Euros to help the port visit programme, take onboard and, unusually for a Type 23 Frigate, embarking a Wildcat helicopter from the Commando Helicopter Force – more typically found supporting Royal Marines on the battlefield than warships mid-ocean.
The exercise itself was split into two distinct phases; the Combat Enhancement and Force Integration Training phase, which comprised an intense series of warfare activities.”
The second phase involved HMS Iron Duke switching sides to play the enemy of NATO Forces, ‘posing a credible threat to NATO activity and providing the allied warships them a realistic adversary on which to practise their warfare tactics’ say the Royal Navy.
“Part of the job of playing enemy forces is to train NATO; Iron Duke was part of a Danish-led Task Group which aimed to deny control of the sea to the coalition who brought their full suite of war fighting capabilities to bear on the Portsmouth-based frigate.”
BALTOPS is an annual exercise which tests the 16 allied and partner maritime nations taking part. Exercise BALTOPS is designed 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.