Eight NATO nations have joined in a war game called ‘Dynamic Manta’ in the Mediterranean Sea. The exercise, aimed at hunting enemy submarines in the region, was launched off the Sicilian coast on February 22.
The annual exercise involves surface ships, submarines, and aircraft from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 leads the exercise that is meant to boost anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
The region witnesses routine Russian submarine traffic as boats flow between a Russian sub base in Tartus, Syria, and other locations such as the Black and Baltic seas.
This year, French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle is also joining in the exercise, along with an American nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Two Italian, one Turkish, and one Greek diesel-electric submarine will take part as well.
Team @NATO! ? Dynamic Manta exercise kicks off in Italy with full force: ????????????????
— NATO Maritime Command (@NATO_MARCOM) February 23, 2021
Surface vessels joining the combat drills include four ships currently serving in the rotational SNMG-2 high-readiness unit – flagship ESPS Cristóbal Colón (F-105), Turkish frigate TCG Kemalreis (F-247), Greek frigate HS Kountouriotis (F-462), and Italian frigate ITS Virginio Fasan (F-591) – as well as French frigate Languedoc (D-653).
Virginio Fasan and Languedoc are both FREMM multi-mission frigates and were among the French and Italian FREMMs built with enhanced ASW systems, compared to other FREMMs that were built as general-purpose or anti-air-focused frigates.
“The strength of NATO military forces is found in our command, control and communication structures, which can best be practiced during live exercises such as Dynamic Manta 2021. Developing and maintaining highly trained, ready forces that integrate seamlessly is the bedrock of our collective deterrence and defense,” said Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command.
“This live exercise will also further demonstrate that COVID-19 hasn’t changed NATO’s resilience and readiness. I appreciate the outstanding support of the Italian Navy and the force contributing nations to help achieve this objective in a collective way.”
— NATO Maritime Command (@NATO_MARCOM) February 24, 2021
Host nation Italy is providing support in the Catania harbor, naval helicopter base in Catania, naval air station in Sigonella, as well as logistic support (refueling operations, medical assistance, and personnel accommodation) from Augusta naval base.
During the exercise that will conclude on March 5, each surface ship will have the opportunity to conduct a variety of submarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns to hunt and to get hunted, closely coordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants.