March 12 (UPI) -- A 12-day, five-nation NATO anti-submarine exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, Dynamic Manta 2021, successfully concluded last week, the U.S. Navy said on Friday.
Maritime forces of the United States, France, Turkey, Italy and Greece participated in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills near the Catania, Italy, home base of the annual exercise.
Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States also added support vessels.
Significantly, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was a participant this year, maintaining tactical control of all involved ships and submarines, including U.S. vessels, in a show of interoperability among NATO partners.
The submarine USS San Juan, P-8A aircraft from Patrol Squadron 46 of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and the destroyer USS Donald Cook were involved in the event, which began on Feb. 22 and concluded on Mar. 5.
Elements of Patrol Squadron 46, known as the "Grey Knights," have been stationed in Italy since October 2020.
"Our crews put in lot of time and effort mission planning leading up to Dynamic Manta, and it showed," said Lt. Com. Kyle Atakturk in a statement this week. "Multi-national events like this are critical for training and really showcase the multiplied strength when NATO partners work together."
The exercises included surface ships conducting operations in tandem with submarines, and each submarine serving as the hunter and as the hunted in specialized drills in coordination with other air and surface participants.
"The crew of Donald Cook swiftly demonstrated remarkable commitment and great skills," Adm. Marc Aussedat, commander of the French aircraft carrier, said Friday.
"France and the United States, the only nations having catapult and recovery nuclear aircraft carrier, take advantage of each exchange to consolidate their high-end interoperability. These opportunities directly contribute to strengthening our capacity to fight alongside one another," Aussedat said.