HMS Ocean plays central role in the largest maritime exercise of the year. HMS Iron Duke and HMS Quorn also attend.
Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) is an annual military exercise is hosted by the United States 6th Fleet and aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through “partnership” working and the sharing of resources, taking place in the Baltic Sea and around the coast of Poland. Beginning on June the 5th it will involve nearly 4500 personnel, 47 ships, and 49 aircraft from 17 nations, including a 700-strong amphibious landing force. The exercise will practice a range of capabilities, including anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and amphibious landings.
HMS Ocean, recently taking over the role of flagship from HMS Bulwark, will demonstrate Britain’s “ongoing commitment” to NATO. Ocean is leading the RN’s input to BALTOPS, which also sees frigate HMS Iron Duke, minehunter HMS Quorn alongside vessels from 16 countries.
Captain Tim Henry, Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, said:
“BALTOPS is a multinational exercise that brings together NATO and partner nations to engage in realistic and challenging maritime training in an area of collective importance.”
Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, said:
“The key role that our armed forces will play in the Allied Shield exercises clearly demonstrates our commitment to defending our NATO allies and partners. Operating alongside other nations’ forces on land, sea, and in the air, we are able to enhance our ability to conduct joint operations now and in the future, and respond to any threat to the Alliance.
These exercises are just the latest examples of the UK’s ongoing contribution to the reassurance, training, and defence of our Eastern European NATO allies. Following the deployment of RAF Typhoons on the Baltic Air Policing mission, and the Army’s participation in Estonia’s largest ever military exercise earlier this month, the UK will continue to play a key role in the collective defence of NATO countries.”