POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland --
Fifteen NATO and two partner nations are participating in the 44th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise BALTOPS 2016 in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Sweden and throughout the Baltic Sea, June 3-19.
Approximately 6,100 maritime, ground, and air force troops from participating nations will demonstrate maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, amphibious operations, and air defense in a joint environment to ensure regional security.
"BALTOPS is an opportunity for the NATO alliance and our partner nations to go to sea and train together," said Vice Adm. James Foggo III, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and Striking and Support Forces NATO. "We are going to conduct a series of operations, exercises and events over the next two weeks that span the full spectrum of naval warfare and our capabilities."
As part of BALTOPS 2016, the U.S. Air Force deployed active duty and reserve assets to Europe including four KC-135s from the 100th and 434th air refueling wings, two B-52s Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, and 20 F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st and 138th fighter wings.
These deployed forces will work in tandem with naval forces to enhance flexibility and interoperability with participating NATO allies and partner nations by conducting a series of realistic, combined flying training including air defense, maritime awareness and support to amphibious operations.
Participating nations include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.
BALTOPS 2016 also provides the Alliance and its partners an opportunity to collectively evaluate and improve their combat readiness and capabilities after bringing together forces from multiple nations to train together as one military.
"This exercise facilitates multinational cooperation to achieve common objectives," said Lt. Col. Jason Repak, 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 commander. "This cooperation clearly demonstrates U.S. commitment to our allies and allows us to attain valuable lessons learned to apply to future exercises or real-world contingencies."
Overall, BALTOPS 2016 demonstrates the resolve of allied and partner forces to defend and maintain a stable and prosperous Baltic Sea region.