Nineteen NATO nations are contributing navy and marine forces to Trident Juncture 2015, the Alliance’s biggest and most ambitious exercise in more than a decade. More than 70 ships and submarines, maritime patrol aircraft and 3,000 marines are taking part in the maritime portion of the exercise taking place off the coast of Portugal, Spain and Italy and at NATO’s Maritime Command in the United Kingdom.
“I am glad to be in this challenging NATO exercise with my units and look forward to train with these highly motivated crews from different nations. Multi-nationality is inspiring; common procedures and tactics are the key to shaping a coherent and capable NATO force at sea,” said Read Admiral Jorg Klein, the Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. Three weeks of intensive training was launched on 19 October during an opening ceremony at the Trapani air force base in Italy.
A wide group of Allies were already involved in training manoeuvres and techniques during the first days of the exercise. Dutch and British maritime forces conducted an amphibious operation at Sierra del Retin, Spain. In Sardinia, Italy US Marines and British Royal Marines trained together to enhance their interoperability which is crucial to ensure they can work seamlessly together in crisis situations. Canadian, Portuguese, Spanish and Danish naval ships conducted operations in the Atlantic Ocean south of Portugal.
Meanwhile two Portuguese F16 fighter jets with four F18 fighter jets from partner nation Finland supported the maritime training from the air. “This was a valuable anti-air warfare training opportunity that allowed us to observe the impressive aerial capabilities of our NATO allies,” said Commander Pascal Belhumeur, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Frigate HMCS Winnipeg.
The maritime part of Trident Juncture tests multiple warfare disciplines at sea including: amphibious landings in four locations, special operations forces activities, maritime patrol aircraft sorties, submarine warfare and coastal training events. Trident Juncture will continue until 6 November across Italy, Spain and Portugal. The exercise, involving 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations, will certify next year’s NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force.