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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.
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. (Ford Williams/U.S. Navy)
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.
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. (Ford Williams/U.S. Navy)
U.S. Marines prepare to load into assault amphibious vehicles during a beach landing in Ventspils, Latvia, as part of exercise BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region.
U.S. Marines prepare to load into assault amphibious vehicles during a beach landing in Ventspils, Latvia, as part of exercise BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region. (Ford Williams/U.S. Navy)
Midshipman 1st Class Nicole Busa ( left) and Midshipman 3rd Class Kendall Zotti do bridge watch training aboard the USS Arlington during BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region.
Midshipman 1st Class Nicole Busa ( left) and Midshipman 3rd Class Kendall Zotti do bridge watch training aboard the USS Arlington during BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region. (Sara Groom/U.S. Navy)
An assault amphibious vehicle enters the well deck of the USS Arlington on June 6, 2017 to prepare for a simulated amphibious assault during BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region in which 14 countries participated.
An assault amphibious vehicle enters the well deck of the USS Arlington on June 6, 2017 to prepare for a simulated amphibious assault during BALTOPS, a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region in which 14 countries participated. (Stevie Tate/U.S. Navy)
Amphibious vehicles depart the USS Arlington during a beach landing in Ventspils, Latvia, on June 6, 2017 as part of  BALTOPS, a multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region.
Amphibious vehicles depart the USS Arlington during a beach landing in Ventspils, Latvia, on June 6, 2017 as part of BALTOPS, a multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea region. (Ford Williams/U.S. Navy)
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.
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. (America A. Henry/U.S. Navy)

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.

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