BALTIC SEA (NNS) -- The President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, observed a naval demonstration from the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). Two Polish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft performed a fly-by while Grybauskaitė was aboard.
Grybauskaitė, Vice. Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO); and Rear Adm. Guy Robinson, OBE, Royal Navy, deputy commander, STRIKFORNATO, traveled to the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) to meet with distinguished visitors from some of the nations participating BALTOPS.
U.S. and Romanian Marines launched from Oak Hill in amphibious assault vehicle for an amphibious demonstration with the Lublin-class minelayer-landing ship ORP Krakow (823) near Klaipeda, Lithuania.
The Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Niels Juel (F363) conducted a gunnery exercise at the Ravlunda firing range in Sweden.
USS Mount Whitney conducted maritime maneuvering drills with ships from Denmark, Germany, Latvia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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.