NATO’s Mediterranean-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise Dynamic Manta is underway off the coast of Sicily, Italy.
The two-week exercise, which began on 21 February, is designed “to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare disciplines”, NATO’s Maritime Command (MARCOM) said in a statement.
MARCOM runs two annual ASW-focused exercises: Dynamic Mongoose, which takes place in the North Atlantic in June/July, and is based around Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1); and Dynamic Manta, based around SNMG2. This exercise schedule allows NATO to maintain timely focus on building and demonstrating ASW skills in ‘real-world’ operational theatres.
For Dynamic Manta 22, three submarines from France, Greece, and exercise hosts Italy have joined surface ships from Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). Maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs) from Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the UK, and the US are also present.
“Each surface ship will have the opportunity to conduct a variety of [ASW] operations. The submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted, closely co-ordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants,” said MARCOM.
“NATO’s maritime power lies in the ability of the standing forces to rapidly join with high readiness, high capacity national forces to deliver effects when and where needed,” Rear Admiral Stephen Mack, a US Navy officer and Commander Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO), said in the statement. “Exercises like Dynamic Manta, along with regular training between allied navy units and our multinational Standing Naval Forces, are a force multiplier that provides a collectively trained and interoperable force, ready to work together as the maritime portion of [NATO’s] Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.”
Some of the platforms present for Dynamic Manta highlight wider NATO operational trends. First, several member states are investing in MPA capability, and the UK has deployed one of its new Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPAs to the exercise and to the region for the first time. Second, the UK Royal Navy River-class Batch 2 offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Trent is deployed with SNMG2. To help build greater global forward presence, all five River-class Batch 2 OPVs are forward deployed. Trent is based in the Mediterranean: this will enable more regular participation in SNMG2 and other MARCOM Mediterranean-based activities.
by Dr. Lee Willett