This summer, the allies will be carrying out large-scale training exercises on the Baltic Sea. The United States will be leading the annual international Baltic region training exercise BALTOPS, while the United Kingdom will be leading the deployment exercise Baltic Protector.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik emphasised that the Joint Expeditionary Force, formed under the direction of the United Kingdom, is an important cooperation format for Estonia and that Baltic Protector is the first large-scale naval exercise designed to develop the interoperability of the partners participating in the exercise.
‘Both training exercises show the desire, determination and capabilities of our allies to defend the Baltic Sea region,' said Minister of Defence Jüri Luik. ‘The training exercise Baltic Protector provides an excellent opportunity for the Joint Expeditionary Force to practice interoperability, to share experiences and to show that together we are stronger and able to do more. The training exercise also deepens partnerships between Joint Expeditionary Force countries,' added Minister Luik.
Today, on 12 June, the landing exercise BALTOPS will carried out on Saaremaa, with servicemen from the United States, Poland, Romania and Estonia taking part. Contribution to the training exercise will be members of the Saaremaa Defence League district.
‘An excellent example of an effort being made to reach a common goal is that BALTOPS and Baltic Protector have combined their forces this year,' said Jüri Luik.
BALTOPS is a cooperation exercise, which first began in the 1970s. The goal of BALTOPS is to promote the transnational interoperability of defence forces, in which cooperation is practiced on the sea, land and in the air.
Danex, the first stage of Baltic Protector, began on 24 May, in Denmark, with the second stage, BALTOPS, and the final stage of the training exercise, Amphibex – set to take place in Estonia, in July – bringing nearly 20 naval ships to the Baltic Sea region.
These include ships from the British Royal Navy and nearly 3000 servicemen from the nine different countries comprising the Joint Expeditionary Force. Baltic Protector is the first large-scale deployment exercise involving the Joint Expeditionary Force, and its objective is to reaffirm the commitment to defending the Baltic region.
The Joint Expeditionary Force is a defence cooperation framework of nine countries that is led by the United Kingdom, focusing on deterrence and ensuring security in the Baltic Sea region and more broadly in Northern Europe, as well as being ready to contribute to operations in hotspots.
The Joint Expeditionary Force was launched in 2014, and on 28 June 2018, in London, the ministers of defence from the cooperation framework countries signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding concerning the Joint Expeditionary Force. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom have joined the Joint Expeditionary Force.