HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s and NATO Flagship, has arrived in the operating area for a NATO Baltic exercise.
She has embarked the multinational staff of the Commander Amphibious Task Force and Commander Land Forces and eight helicopters.
The Plymouth-based amphibious helicopter carrier is now operating as part of the Combined Task Force, under the command of a US Navy admiral. Exercise BALTOPS will take place over the next 10 days to demonstrate the unity of NATO allies and partners in the region whilst indicating strength in providing security in the Baltic Region.
HMS Ocean has embarked two Merlin aircraft from 814 (Culdrose-based anti submarine) and 845 (Yeovilton-based Commando Helicopter Force) Naval Air Squadrons, four Apache Attack Helicopters from 656 Army Air Corps and two CH47s from 27 Squadron Royal Air Force.
She also has multinational NATO Command teams embarked, and is currently home to personnel from several NATO nations, and partner nations, including Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the USA.
The ship sailed from Plymouth to Baltic and trained along the way to fight mock ship’s damage.
BALTOPS 2016 is the latest in a series of exercises which have been ongoing for over 40 years. The exercise will enable high end war-fighting training which will demonstrate a range of defence capabilities between nations and provide assurance to countries and populations in the Baltic Region of NATO’s commitment to security.
HMS Ocean will be proving her reputation as a high readiness command ship for NATO forces. The captain of HMS Ocean, Commander Nick Wood Royal Navy, said: “It is a great privilege to take part in the BALTOPS 16 exercise and the ship and ship’s company are very much looking forward to benefiting from the training opportunities across the spectrum of naval warfare whilst working closely with our NATO allies.’’
The embarkation of aviation assets from all 3 armed services and Royal Marines, as well as her role as a command platform for NATO staffs, will ensure HMS Ocean gains benefit from developing capability across the spectrum of war-fighting disciplines.
NATO nations taking part are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK, US. Force contributing NATO Partners: Finland and Sweden. With observer nation Singapore.