BALTOPS 2017 Kicks Off

Powidz Air Base, Poland --

Exercise BALTIC OPERATIONS (BALTOPS) is underway in the Baltic Sea region until June 16. Air, maritime, and ground assets from several NATO Allies and Partner Nations are involved in the live training event that started from Szczecin, Poland and finishes in Kiel, Germany.

“What we want to do is practice and demonstrate the ability to deliver sea control and power projection at and from the sea,” said U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Christopher Grady, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe

BALTOPS is an annual recurring multinational, maritime-focused exercise designed to provide high end training for the participants. This year 14 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States and NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partners: Finland and Sweden) are participating.

The U.S. Air Force is supporting this exercise with approximately 900 Airmen, eight F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, four KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U.S. Air Force Reserve 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, one Air Force Reserve E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from the 513th Air Control Group, B-52s from RAF Fairford, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma and Airmen from the 1st Combat Communication Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany are supporting this multinational exercise.

“This exercise is a great opportunity for the United States and NATO partners to practice air and maritime integration,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Edward Chandler, BALTOPS Air Syndicate Lead.

The exercise, is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among Allied and Partner Nations' forces to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region.

“We’ve maintained a consistent level of participation over the last couple of years,” said Grady. “It’s a very large exercise with a lot of moving parts and the participants will provide that realistic and challenging training we’re looking for.”

BALTOPS, which began in 1972, provides an opportunity for NATO and regional partners to strengthen interoperability through a series of combined tactical maneuvers and scenarios.