Advertisement

NATO ships, aircraft conduct exercises with Latvian navy

The frigate HMCS Toronto of the Royal Canadian Navy arrived in Riga, Latvia, after conducting Baltic Sea exercises with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.  Photo courtesy of Latvian Defense Ministry 
The frigate HMCS Toronto of the Royal Canadian Navy arrived in Riga, Latvia, after conducting Baltic Sea exercises with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.  Photo courtesy of Latvian Defense Ministry 

Aug. 14 (UPI) -- NATO's standing maritime fleet conducted air and sea integration exercises while traveling on the Baltic Sea to Riga, Latvia, NATO announced on Friday.

The high-readiness group Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, led by the Canadian frigate HCMS Toronto and the Portuguese frigate NRP Corte Real, conducted air defense training with NATO air forces this week.

Advertisement

A NATO AWACS aircraft provided surveillance as Spanish F-18 and French Mirage 2000-5 fighter planes conducted an overflight of the ships.

The planes are part of NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission and conducted the air-maritime interoperability training, with activities supervised from a NATO communications center in Ramstein, Germany.

RELATED NATO receives 2nd Airbus A330 for fleet of multi-role aircraft

"This event has been a fantastic demonstration of our multi-domain capabilities in support of effective NATO deterrence and defense and underscored air power flexibility in identifying and committing enablers quickly and effectively," said Brig. Gen. Andrew Hansen, Allied Air Command Deputy Chief of Staff Operations.

The ships, comprising one of four NATO standing naval groups and the only one regularly in the Baltic Sea region, arrived in Riga's commercial harbor on Friday and will stay until Sunday.

COVID-19 precautions cancelled sailors' shore leave or civilian visits to the ship, officials said.

Advertisement
RELATED U.S., Poland complete enhanced defense agreement

"Visits by any group of ships to the ports of NATO member states demonstrate the Alliance's presence, both in Latvia and in the region as a whole, thus promoting peace and stability," said Capt. Kaspars Zelcs, commander of the Latvian navy.

He added that the Latvian minesweeper M04 Imanta is part of the group, "thus contributing Latvia's contribution to NATO's collective defense."

RELATED Pentagon to reposition forces in Europe after EUCOM posture review

Latest Headlines