HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s flagship, has arrived in the operating area for the NATO BALTOPS exercise.
She has embarked the multinational staff of the Commander Amphibious Task Force and Commander Land Forces and eight helicopters.
“The ship and ship’s company are very much looking forward to benefiting from the training opportunities across the spectrum of naval warfare whilst working closely with our NATO allies.”
Commander Nick Wood
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.
She also has multinational NATO Command teams embarked, and is currently home to personnel from several NATO nations, and partner nations, including Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the USA.
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.
The 21,000 tonne vessel is an amphibious assault ship and landing platform helicopter. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.
Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon said the move “sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies”.
The Navy is also deploying three mine sweepers with around 130 personnel for NATO operations in the Baltic Sea, North Atlantic, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
HMS Ocean became the Royal Navy Fleet Flagship in June 2015.