Exercises

Navy Vessels HMS Kent And HMS Ramsay Wrap Up NATO Exercise

BALTOPS, the largest military exercise of 2020 in European waters, has ended after two weeks of testing naval capabilities.

Royal Navy vessels HMS Kent and HMS Ramsey have capped off two weeks of intensive training in the Baltic region on NATO's BALTOPS exercise.

Dozens of ships led by the US Navy’s Mount Whitney, as well as upwards of 3,000 military personnel took part in the 49th edition of the event.

Those that took part were given seven days training side-by-side with other nations in numerous scenarios, focusing on anti-submarine warfare, air attacks and combined manoeuvres.

Personnel then took part in a four-day tactical role-playing exercise.

"This has been a great opportunity to prove how quickly the Royal Navy can integrate with NATO and regional allies, whilst also providing reassurance to our partners in the Baltic Sea region," said Commander Matt Sykes, HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer.

HMS Kent weapons crews practicing close range gunnery (Picture: Royal Navy).

Kent was given an enemy state role in the exercise assigned to the ‘Orange Forces’ from the fictional state of Bothnia, providing her crew with a unique set of challenges. 

"Playing the bad guys for a change rather than ourselves has been good," said above water warfare specialist, 31-year-old Able Seaman Jonathan Mills.

"It really forced us to look at how we normally do things, then doing something sneaky instead.

"It has been really busy, but I have definitely learned a lot."

HMS Ramsey, meanwhile, has been refining her minehunting capabilities focusing on observing and working alongside seven other ships.

"It has been really interesting to see other nations conduct mine hunting operations and observe how they do it, especially the German Navy using autonomous drones during the exercise," said mine warfare specialist Able Seaman Harry Streeter.

HMS Kent is now focusing on training around the UK, while HMS Ramsey will remain in the Baltic with a NATO mine warfare group.

Cover image: HMS Kent on the Baltic Sea during BALTOPS 20 (Picture: Royal Navy).