NATO kicked off its annual Dynamic Manta anti-submarine warfare exercise today in the Mediterranean, with this year’s iteration including an American nuclear-powered attack sub and the French carrier strike group as it passes by the exercise’s operating area off Sicily.
The exercise, which runs through March 5, includes submarines, surface ships and aircraft from eight nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 leads the exercise that is meant to boost ASW proficiency in that particular geography and threat set, which includes routine Russian submarine traffic as boats flow between a Russian sub base in Tartus, Syria, to other locations such as the Black and Baltic seas.
Spanish Navy Rear Adm. Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía, the commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 embarked aboard Spanish frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón (F-105), said during a Dynamic Manta press conference on Feb. 19 that the exercise is important “not only in training and keeping the high readiness of the force but also, as I mentioned, from enhancing interoperability, showing NATO presence and assuring allies of the maritime commitment to collective defense.”
Noting that the event would include fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters, surface ships and submarines operating in a relatively small box and in a complex maritime environment, he added that the scenarios are meant for “fostering interoperability among participating units and exercising as well to improve one of the strengths of NATO military forces, which is the command, control and communications structure, increasing … mutual understanding of all participating forces and preparing them for operations in peace, crisis and conflict.”