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Dynamic Manta 21: Taking anti-submarine warfare to the next level

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Dynamic Manta 21, the largest anti-submarine warfare exercise in Europe, is in full swing.

Eight NATO members are participating in the exercise–Belgium, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the US. In total, the exercise will involve 11 major vessels, including one aircraft carrier (the French Charles de Gaulle CSG), five surface ships, five submarines, several support ships, and several aircraft.

Dynamic Manta 21’s aim is to enhance interoperability among the NATO member states and provide individual ships and crews with demanding combined warfare and anti-submarine warfare challenge. Each surface ship will get the opportunity to hunt a submarine, while each submarine will get the opportunity to try and “sink” a surface vessel. The air assets will assist surface vessels in locating submarines.   

Four NATO ships participating in Dynamic Manta 21, a large-scale anti-submarine warfare (NATO).

“The strength of NATO military forces is found in our command, control and communication structures, which can best be practiced during live exercises such as Dynamic Manta 2021,” Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command, said in a press release.

“Developing and maintaining highly trained, ready forces that integrate seamlessly is the bedrock of our collective deterrence and defence. This live exercise will also further demonstrate that COVID-19 hasn’t changed NATO’s resilience and readiness. I appreciate the outstanding support of the Italian Navy and the force contributing nations to help achieve this objective in a collective way.”

Italy, as the host nation for the exercise, is providing logistical support from the Sigonella Naval Air Station, Augusta Naval Base, and Catania harbor. The exercise is taking place from February 22 to March 5.

Greek Navy SEALs about to board a cargo ship heading to Libya as part of Operation Irini (EUNAVFOR Med Irini).

“NATO’s annual anti-submarine-warfare exercise Dynamic Manta remains one of the most challenging exercises and an excellent opportunity for NATO nations’ naval forces to practice, evaluate, and refine their anti-submarine skillset in a demanding environment,” said Rear Admiral E. Andrew Burcher, Commander Submarines NATO.

“With a constantly evolving threat posture, this exercise is a chance to enhance our naval forces’ warfighting skills in all three dimensions of anti-submarine warfare in a multinational and multi-threat environment.”

Hellenic Navy submarine HS Ydra moments before it descends to act as the opposition force (NATO)

Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) is a multinational high readiness force that supports NATO operations as part of the maritime component of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

The exercise will take place in an interesting area. The European Union is already operating in the region with Operation Irini (“peace” in Greek), an effort to enforce the UN arms embargo in Libya. Additionally, Russian submarines often traverse the Central Mediterranean on their way to the Baltic.

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Stavros Atlamazoglou

Greek Army veteran (National service with 575th Marines Battalion and Army HQ). Johns Hopkins University. You will usually find him on the top of a mountain admiring the view and wondering how he got there.