KLAIPEDA, Lithuania (NNS) -- Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018 kicked off with participating nations attending a pre-sail conference at Hotel Amberton Klaipeda on June 1.
BALTOPS is an annual joint, multinational maritime-focused exercise scheduled for June 1-15, 2018. It is designed to improve training value for participants enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner forces in defending the Baltic Sea region. The exercise will involve maritime, ground, and air forces so as to strengthen combined response capabilities necessary to ensure regional stability.
Participating nations in BALTOPS include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A total of 43 maritime units, more than 60 aircraft and a combined amphibious landing force are scheduled to participate in BALTOPS 2018.
Vice. Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO held meetings with Raimundas Karoblis, Lithuanian minister of national defense, Vytautas Grubliauskas mayor of Klaipeda, and Lithuanian Capt. Arunas Mockus, commander in chief of the Lithuanian Navy.
Alongside Karoblis, Franchetti conducted a joint press conference with member of the Lithuanian media.
Sailors and Marines from ships ported in Klaipeda, Lithuania, participated in sporting events throughout the city.