NATO's 'Trident Juncture' has entered its tactical phase, with naval elements forming a key focus of the alliance's largest exercise since the Cold War.
'Trident Juncture' is being held in Norway, covering the land, sea, and air domains, and involving more than 50,000 personnel from 31 NATO states and partner nations. It was launched in October and will continue until late November.
The exercise is "almost unprecedented" in scope, from both a joint and a purely naval perspective, said Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean of the French Navy, deputy commander of Allied Maritime Command, which is based in Northwood, UK. There are around 16 nations taking part in the exercise on the naval side, with equipment including 65 vessels (including submarines), and eight maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
As of late October, 'Trident Juncture' had entered the live exercise phase, Vice Adm Bléjean told Jane's , having just completed force integration training to ensure that ships were prepared to integrate and participate in the exercise on various levels, from anti-submarine warfare to amphibious warfare. The live exercise will see the maritime forces divided into two elements, he said, with the naval assets and personnel equally split between both, meaning each will contain roughly 5,000 sailors and 30 vessels.
Rear Admiral Guy Robinson of the UK Royal Navy - who is deputy commander of NATO Striking and Support Forces (STRIKFORNATO) - will take command of Maritime Component North, while Vice Adm Bléjean will lead Maritime Component South.
The live phase will feature various scenarios that will sometimes pit the two components against one another, Vice Adm Bléjean said, testing "how they interact and how they detect one another, and how they conduct maritime interdiction operations", among other goals. The southern component will aim to protect sea lanes of communication, he explained, and will also focus on delivering amphibious assault capabilities to support the land elements of the exercise.
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