Large-scale exercise brings allied nations together in Baltic Sea

A landing craft departs the well deck of the USS Arlington during a simulated beach invasion in Ventspils, Latvia, on June 6, 2017 as part of BALTOPS, a multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region. Fourteen countries participated this year.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 9, 2017

Fourteen countries have converged on the Baltic Sea for BALTOPS, a two-week maritime exercise designed to strengthen nations’ military teamwork and combined defense capability.

The U.S.-led exercise is in its 45th year. It is a show of force, with 4,000 shipboard personnel, 50 ships and submarines and about 50 planes participating.

The countries taking part are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

BALTOPS began in 1972 during the height of the Cold War. It seeks to shore up combined response capabilities among allied nations to ensure stability in the Baltic region and, if necessary, defend it.


Vice Adm. Christopher Grady, 6th Fleet commander, greets Capt. Arunas Mockus, commander in chief of the Lithuanian Navy, on during exercise BALTOPS on June 5, 2017. BALTOPS is an annual U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region.

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