World, Europe

NATO kicks off maritime exercise Dynamic Manta off southern Italy

Between Feb. 26-March 8, Allied navy units from 9 nations to train with opportunity to improve their skills in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare

Diyar Guldogan  | 27.02.2024 - Update : 27.02.2024
NATO kicks off maritime exercise Dynamic Manta off southern Italy A Spanish Navy helicopter practices airborne aid delivery to a Spanish Navy submarine as part of the NATO's Dynamic Manta 2024 exercise in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily in Italy on February 26, 2024. ( Baris Seckin - Anadolu Agency )

WASHINGTON

NATO's annual advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare exercise began on Monday.

Dynamic Manta 2024 will continue through March 8 off Italy's Sicilian coast in the central Mediterranean Sea, where NATO allies Türkiye, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US are participating, the alliance’s Maritime Command said in a statement.

"It is the largest and most complex submarine exercise in the Mediterranean, which trains, demonstrates and refines Allied capabilities in this particular type of warfare," the command said.

It said the aim of Dynamic Manta is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills.

Each participating unit 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, according to the statement.

"Anti-Submarine Warfare is a team sport, with each platform bringing its unique capability and valuable contribution, and these exercises enable our Allies and teams to sharpen their skills as well as work on new tactics while enhancing interoperability and teamwork,” said NATO Submarine Commander Rear Admiral Thomas Wall.

"Developing our collective skills in anti-surface warfare contributes directly to the NATO Deter and Defense concept by improving our ability to ensure a comprehensive maritime situation awareness from sea-bed to space," Wall added.

Planned by NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), the exercise will take place off the eastern and southern coasts of Sicily. Six submarines will in turn hunt and be hunted, in close coordination with air and surface assets. The submarines belong to the navies of Greece, France, Italy, Spain and Türkiye, with the NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO) exercising operational control on several, as required by the exercise scenario.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Canada, Germany, Greece, Türkiye, the UK and the US and Maritime Patrol Helicopters (MPH) from Italy will also take part, supported by the surface ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Pasquale Esposito.

As the host nation, Italy is providing support in Catania and Augusta Harbors, the naval helicopter base in Catania and Naval Air Station Sigonella as well as support from Augusta Naval Base.

Between Feb. 26 and March 8, Allied navy units from nine nations will take part in the challenging training with the opportunity to improve their skills in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

Dynamic Manta is one of nearly a dozen MARCOM-led maritime exercises held each year in addition to numerous national exercises which increase the defense readiness of the Alliance.

Its sister exercise, Dynamic Mongoose, takes place in the cold waters of the North Atlantic as part of the continuous submarine warfare training and cooperation comprising the hi-end submarines of Allies and Sweden.

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