NATO Naval Forces Kick Off Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE
MEDITERRANEAN SEA/ATLANTIC OCEAN – Today more than 70 ships and submarines, maritime patrol aircraft and 3,000 Marines began the Combat Enhancement Training and Force Integration phase of Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015, the biggest and most ambitious NATO exercise since 2002.
Nineteen NATO nations are supplying Navy and Marine forces to the exercise, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
During the exercise, maritime units and personnel will operate from several locations, including Rota (ESP), Zaragoza (ESP), Pinheiro da Cruz (PRT), Sierra de Retin (ESP), Alvarez De Sotomayor (ESP), Capo Teulada (ITA), Troia (PRT) and HQ MARCOM (GBR).
"NATO's naval forces face a challenging and evolving security environment," said Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander of NATO's Allied Maritime Command. "We must work to enhance our readiness and flexibility, and TRIDENT JUNCTURE gives us the perfect venue to challenge our ability to respond to complex multi-dimensional threats in a well-coordinated and effective fashion."
The exercise has been designed to be a high-visibility, robust training opportunity for participating units and forces that exceed that available in most national exercises. The maritime part of the exercise tests multiple warfare disciplines at sea including for instance: amphibious landings in four locations, Special Operations Forces (SOF) activities, maritime patrol aircraft sorties, submarine warfare and littoral training events.
The exercise features an Opposition Force (OPFOR) of nearly 20 ships, numerous aircraft and submarines simulating combat against NATO forces on a massive scale across the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean.
"To provide the Alliance an effective collective defence in a crisis, our naval forces must be able to work seamlessly together with other naval forces, and with our air and land-based components," said Vice Admiral Johnstone. "TRIDENT JUNCTURE will provide our forces the most complex test of interoperability in a joint multinational environment that the Alliance has enjoyed in well over a decade."
MARCOM is responsible for facilitating the training of and directing the activities of the maritime forces, in order to meet the training objectives for the participating units.
Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015 also functions as the venue for evaluating the United Kingdom Maritime Force HQs (UKMARFOR) as a High readiness maritime force command to NATO Response Force (NRF) for 2016. This evaluation will ensure UKMARFOR's readiness to meet any challenge it is assigned in the coming year.
Combat Enhancement Training and Force Integration will run through October 29, focusing on tactical aspects of joint multinational operations. Then the exercise will switch to the freeplay, or operational phase of the exercise, where the forces test their ability to respond to a crisis situation.