Multinational Military Exercise BALTOPS 2012 Begins

Courtesy of (June 4, 2012)

On June 1 multinational military exercise BALTOPS 2012 began. Two warships of the Lithuanian Navy also set out for Gdynia: mine countermeasures ship M54 “Kursis” assigned to the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) and patrol ship P11 “Zemaitis”. Multinational exercise BALTOPS 2012 will be held in the territorial waters of Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia of the Baltic Sea.

One of the aims of the Exercise is to enhance mutual understanding, confidence, cooperation, and interoperability between military and civilian personnel involved in the Exercise. During the Exercise military forces will conduct joint maritime operations from maneuvering and patrolling to joint operations with other forces – air and land. BALTOPS 2012 is planned to involve approximately 30 warships (from mine countermeasures ships to patrols ships), 30 aircraft (from helicopters to fighter-jets) and ground elements.

On June 11 a debarkation operation will be executed in Lithuania for the first time. Personnel of the United States Marine Corps, Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, military personnel of the Motorised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, US warship USS Normandy, 2 strategic bombers B 52, 2 PA-200 Tornado fighter-jets of the German Air Force, 2 Mi-8 helicopters of the Lithuanian Air Force, the joint battalion of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia BALTRON, diving team of the Royal Netherlands Navy and 2 Lublin class ships of the Polish Navy which will debark floating tracked amphibious vehicles.

The Exercise will follow a fictitious scenario: a crisis strikes a country called Arcadia and unrest affects the entire region of the Blue Sea. The United Nations Council mandates an operation aimed at an embargo on arms movement, blockade of piracy, stabilization operation in Arcadia and assistance in counter-terrorism actions. International security forces are deployed in the Blue Sea Region.

US first organised the naval exercise BALTOPS since 1972. Since 1993 the series has been held under the Partnership for Peace program. Over four decades BALTOPS grew both in number of participating forces and in magnitude becoming one of the largest training events in the Baltic Region. Lithuania has been sending naval assets to take part in BALTOPS since 1994. This year for the first time Lithuania will host the Exercise on its soil.

BALTOPS 2012 Opening Ceremony will be held in Lithuania on June at the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Motorised Infantry Battalion in Klaipeda.

The Opening Ceremony is expected to attended by leadership of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces, and representatives of administration of Klaipeda City and circuit.