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Week 27 – Northern Europe Operational Update

Brunssum, the Netherlands - For some NATO and partner Air Forces, exercise ‘Ramstein Alloy 20-2’ from 29 June till 01 July featured aerial training scenarios for fighter aircraft from the NATO Allies France, Poland, the United Kingdom and NATO’s partner nation Finland in the airspace over Latvia. This exercise aimed at tactics, techniques and procedures related to quick response to air incidents over the Baltic region. Several air combat training scenarios of fighter aircraft were controlled by the Latvian Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at Lielvarde Air Base. “This is the first time our air surveillance and weapons control specialists control air manoeuvres in this exercise series,” says Major Viktors Žigarkovs, CRC Lielvarde Commander. “Since January 2020, three Control and Reporting Centres in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have ensured air surveillance of the Baltic airspace in their respective territories and near them,” he added. They exchange data and control the sorties of Allied fighter aircraft executing NATO’s Air Policing Mission on a rotational basis and provide mutual back-up services. The training opportunities for the rotating participants of the Baltic Air Policing Mission and partner Finland provided by ‘Ramstein Alloy’ help enhance air safety in the Baltic Sea region through practising standard procedures of identifying or assisting aircraft in distress. “All in all, I am pleased with the outcome of this second Ramstein Alloy here in Latvia despite the weather challenges in the area,” said Squadron Leader Craig Docker, the project officer for the exercise series at Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem, Germany. A third and last Ramstein Alloy in 2020 will occur in September over Estonia and the series is scheduled to continue with three fresh events in 2021.

Photo : A photographic exercise during Dynamic Mongoose 2017, USS ‘Toledo’ leading the formation. NATO: FRAN CPO Christian Valverde

This week, NATO’s 2020 ‘Dynamic Mongoose’ maritime exercise started in the North Atlantic. Submarines, surface vessels and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) from six NATO member states launched a major drill off the coast of Iceland, a region where allies warn that Russia is getting more aggressive. Submarines from France, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States under NATO Submarine Command are joining surface ships from Canada, Norway, United Kingdom, United States and the Icelandic Coast Guard. Iceland as the host nation is also providing logistical support in Reykjavik. These “exercises seize opportunities for NATO and Allied nations to sharpen war-fighting skills by focusing on high-end capabilities including Anti-Submarine Warfare. Dynamic Mongoose will ensure we remain prepared for operations in peace, crisis and conflict." Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO's Allied Maritime Command, said on Monday. Each surface ship and the MPA will have the opportunity to conduct a variety of submarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted, closely coordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants, NATO Maritime Command said in a statement. The drill comes as NATO gives increased attention to the Arctic and North Atlantic, where Russia has been building up a presence, and where melting sea ice will make it easier for commercial and military vessels to operate in the future. Moscow has “taken an aggressive approach to the Arctic,” reoccupying old Soviet bases and deploying air defense systems, the commander of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Admiral James Foggo said last week. “We’re seeing a new area of maritime competition in the Arctic. Strong navies are needed to protect common interests and ensure the timely flow of trade,” Adm. Foggo, who also is the Commander of JFC Brunssum’s sister command JFC Naples in Italy, underlined. The US is also concerned that Russian forces could damage undersea cables that transmit most of the electronic data between the US and Europe. Exercise ‘Dynamic Mongoose’ will run till 10 July.
Story by Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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