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Mediterranean Sea hosts major NATO submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Manta 24.

| Naval News Navy 2024

As reported by NATO on February 26, 2024, in Catania, Italy, the Mediterranean Sea is the setting for a significant NATO exercise known as Dynamic Manta 24. This event has gathered ships, submarines, aircraft, and personnel to participate in an exercise aimed at preparing NATO submarine crews to deal with potential underwater threats. The exercise is notable for its scale and complexity in the region, focusing on enhancing allied capabilities in submarine warfare.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Dynamic Manta 24 exercise includes the participation of allied maritime Special Operations Forces (SOF), aiming to improve interoperability between the forces (Picture source: NATO)

Dynamic Manta 24 is conducted alongside NATO's Steadfast Defender exercise, illustrating the alliance's capacity to manage multiple exercises and missions simultaneously throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. The ASW exercise is designed to integrate modern submarines and technologies to provide realistic training scenarios.

The exercise emphasizes the importance of teamwork in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), allowing different platforms to contribute their unique capabilities. The objective is to allow allies to improve their skills, develop new tactics, and enhance interoperability and teamwork. Dynamic Manta provides training that aims to increase participants' proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare operations.

This iteration of the exercise includes the participation of Allied Maritime Special Operations Forces (SOF), aiming to improve interoperability between the forces. A notable aspect is the involvement of a Greek SOF team deploying from an Italian submarine, highlighting a focus on combined operations.

These combined tasks included methods for the deployment and recovery of personnel from submarines, enemy shore infiltration by boat, conducting surveillance and reconnaissance missions, establishing communication with submarines, and coordinating submarine retrieval post-mission targeting virtual coastal objectives. Italian Navy vessels were also involved in the exercise. The activity aligns with the Hellenic Defense General Staff’s objectives for international military collaboration and seeks to enhance interoperability among the forces involved.

Commander, Submarines NATO, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Wall, has commented on the importance of collaboration in ASW and the exercise's role in improving anti-surface warfare capabilities and contributing to NATO's Deter and Defense concept.

The exercise is organized by NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) and takes place off the eastern and southern coasts of Sicily. It involves six submarines from Greece, France, Italy, Spain, and Türkiye, coordinated by the NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO). Additionally, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters from various countries participate, supported by the surface ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), led by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Pasquale Esposito.

Italy, as the host nation, provides logistical and operational support for the exercise from various facilities including Catania and Augusta Harbors, the naval helicopter base in Catania, Naval Air Station Sigonella, and Augusta Naval Base.

Scheduled between February 26 and March 8, the exercise aims to offer allied navy units from nine nations the opportunity to engage in training designed to enhance their anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills.

Dynamic Manta is part of a series of MARCOM-led maritime exercises intended to maintain the readiness and defensive capabilities of the Alliance. Along with its sister exercise, Dynamic Mongoose, which occurs in the North Atlantic, Dynamic Manta forms part of NATO's ongoing submarine warfare training and cooperation, which includes the participation of Allies and partners such as Sweden.

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