On June 4 – 18 the Lithuanian Armed Forces is holding annual international maritime exercise Baltic Fortress 2021, this year it will take place together and will be integrated with the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Sea, BALTOPS 2021, organized by the United States Naval Forces Europe.
This year Baltic Fortress 2021 will encompass not only the maritime domain as usual but also coastal and inland waters. The exercise activity will take place in the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon, the Curonian Spit, and the City of Klaipėda.
Ships of the Lithuania, UK Royal, Canadian Royal, Latvian, Polish and the Estonian Navies, Baltic Naval Squadron BALTRON, Lithuanian Navy HQ and coastal units, Royal and Portuguese marines, and the Coastal Defence Missile Squadron of the Polish Navy will be training in the exercise.
The exercise activities will include formation maneuvers, gunnery exercise, radio communications drills, search and rescue procedures, damage control and mine warfare actions, as well as specific exercise actions ashore – force defence against asymmetric hybrid threats and neutralization of the threats, seaborne landing operations in the Curonian Spit and the Curonian Lagoon, and port protection and defence tasks.
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International maritime 17. The exercise will take place in the international waters and exclusive economic zone of Lithuania The annual international maritime Exercise Baltic Fortress has been taking place since 2008 to provide the opportunity for students of the international Baltic Naval Intermediate Command and Staff Course (NICSC) to carry out real-life exercise planning and train staff procedures during various staff-level exercises and real-life manoeuvres at sea while operating in multinational environment and using operational English terminology. BALTRON ships and headquarters with foreign ships assigned to the unit for the drills period sail in the exercise each year.
Baltic Operations, BALTOPS, has been executed by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe since it was first held in 1972. BALTOPS 2021, the 50th iteration of the event, will take place on June 6 – 18. IT will involve approx. 40 vessels, 60 aircraft, and approx. 4 thousand military personnel from 16 NATO and two neutral states: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Italy, U.S., UK, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, and Germany. The training event will hone air defence, submarine warfare, mine warfare, and amphibious operations actions.
Information credits: Lithuanian Navy
Photo: Exercise Baltic Fortress 2019 (credit: Lt (Navy) Justinas Žukauskas)