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BALTOPS 2015 Ships Sail from Gdynia for Training - Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337) transits past the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109)
By Lt. Adam Cole, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

BALTIC SEA (NNS) -- Ships from 17 NATO and partner countries, comprising the BALTOPS 2015 force, sailed from Gdynia to start training in a number of warfare areas, June 8.

BALTOPS is an annual multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability in order to strengthen combined response capabilities necessary to ensure regional stability.

BALTOPS exercises will test the maritime defense capabilities of NATO and partner countries participating in the operation and will include a landing force event composed of 700 Swedish, Finnish and U.S. troops.

"The conditions were perfect and afforded us the opportunity to demonstrate solidarity and professionalism as we move into the southern Baltic ready for the challenges of the training exercise that lay ahead,"
- Rear Adm. Timothy Lowe, deputy commander, BALTOPS

"Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) personnel took full advantage of the meetings in port, not only to ensure we were prepared for BALTOPs, but also to get to know our Allied counterparts on a more personal level before operating together at sea. This exercise will provide another great training opportunity for our ships, and will give alliance and partner nations the chance to operate at sea as part of a large multinational force. The ability of maritime forces to quickly integrate is the cornerstone of the Alliance's capability."
- Rear Admiral Brad Williamson, commander, SNMG 2

Quick Facts:
* Approximately 5,600 air, ground and maritime forces from participating nations will conduct air defense, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, and amphibious operations in a joint environment.
* While BALTOPS remains a U.S.-led exercise, Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) is responsible for executing this year's exercise.
* BALTOPS is an exercise that brings together both NATO and non-NATO countries to increase interoperability in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace program.
* A total of 49 ships, 61 aircraft, one submarine, and a combined landing force of 700 Swedish, Finnish, and U.S. troops are scheduled to participate.
* Fourteen NATO and three partner nations are participating in the 43rd iteration of the multinational maritime exercise BALTOPS 2015.
* Participants in #BALTOPS2015 include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda S. Kitchner
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