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 Jun 6 2020

NATO Air Forces to participate in Maritime-Led exercise BALTOPS 2020

RAMSTEIN, Germany – NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, coordinates air operations of eleven Allies and two Partners during the international maritime-led joint exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2020 in the Baltic Sea from 7 to 16 June 2020.

“During BALTOPS 2020, my team of planners and controllers at CAOC UEDEM – supported by NATO Allied Air Command and the German national Joint Force Air Component – are the focal point for Air Command and Control,” said Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer, Commander of the CAOC. “We are supporting BALTOPS by planning and coordinating exercise air operations and providing required real-time Air Command and Control functions to synchronise maritime and air operations,” he added.

My team of planners and controllers at CAOC UEDEM are the focal point for Air Command and Control text

In concrete terms this task involves coordinating and synchronising operations of more than 30 Allied and Partner aircraft with manoeuvres of some 29 ships and vessels participating in the Baltic Sea based exercise. “This challenging mission serves to demonstrate NATO Allies are united and ready to deter conflict and defend the sovereignty of Baltic nations through sea control and power projection, and to deter acts of aggression in the region,” added General Habersetzer. NATO AWACS aircraft will execute control of various exercise air activities; Partners Finland and Sweden will join BALTOPS with vessels and aircraft underlining cooperation and interoperability with NATO Allies. 

“BALTOPS provides the opportunity for NATO and partner nations to operate together, sharing best practices to improve real world operations,“ said U.S. Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “Although we’ll conduct this year’s event entirely at sea, BALTOPS 2020 will demonstrate our continuous commitment to regional security and reinforce the inherent flexibility of our combined naval force to operate together under any circumstances.”

Initiated in the 1970s, BALTOPS has played a significant role in enhancing co-operation, cross-domain operations and partnership in the Baltic Sea. BALTOPS 20 is the premier annual maritime -ed exercise in the Baltic Sea region and one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe. 

The exercise is designed to improve flexibility and interoperability, demonstrating NATO’s collective ability to provide sea control and project power from the sea. Up to 3,000 seamen, airmen and marines from 19 Allied and Partner Nations will exercise air defence, maritime interdiction, and anti-subsurface warfare operations in a joint environment.

Set in a fictitious exercise scenario the training benefit and lessons are realistic, contributing to Allied and Partner resilience and strength.

BALTOPS 20 is the first major European maritime-led exercise following the global response to COVID 19. Every precaution is taken to ensure the health and safety of Allied and Partner exercise participants while remaining operational.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

Almost 30 Allied and Partners ships and vessels participate in exercise BALTOPS 20. Archive picture from BALTOPS 15 by Luron Wright/Crown Copyright.
During BALTOPS 20, NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, will provide synchronisation and control of Allied and Partner air activities.
Archive picture from BALTOPS 16.
NATO AWACS aircraft will execute control of some of the air missions during BALTOPS 20 providing a flexible airborne control capability to the exercise. Photo by Shawn Monk.

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