BALTOPS 2018 concludes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Sparks, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
BALTOPS, the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, enhanced flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate international resolve to ensure stability in and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region.

BALTOPS participation included approximately 5,700 personnel from 17 nations, 42 ships, two submarines and more than 40 aircraft.

“The air component is a realistic element of both offensive and defensive operations in a maritime environment,” said Capt. Nathan Meade, a F-15E Strike Eagle pilot assigned the 492nd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. “For BALTOPS, we were exercising the muscles of a joint fight in which air assets of several different countries were coordinating with or controlled by other NATO country ships.”

Air defense, anti-subsurface warfare, maritime interdiction, mine countermeasures and amphibious operations were training focus areas of the exercise.

“Team [Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System] and all our personnel received a lot of training in the maritime arena for BALTOPS,” said Lt. Col. Vida Roeder, 461st Air Control Wing mission crew commander assigned to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. “They also received experience as ambassadors for JSTARS and the U.S. as a whole.”

The opportunity to work with NATO allies and partners provided exercise participants with numerous opportunities to operate together and enhance critical warfighting skillsets.

“BALTOPS is an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate joint interoperability across the air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace domains,” said Lt. Col. Mike Richard, 480th Fighter Squadron commander 52nd Fighter Wing Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provides the U.S. strategic access necessary to meet our NATO commitments and respond to threats against our allies and partners.

“BALTOPS achieved a multitude of objectives,” Richard said. “By demonstrating NATO interoperability and readiness, BALTOPS provided both assurance and deterred aggression for NATO allies and partners.”