The Eastern Mediterranean exercise, which will be hosted by Turkey and runs until November 12, began on November 2 with the participation of NATO Standing Maritime Groups (SNMG-2, SNMCMG-2) and friendly countries, according to the Turkish Naval Forces.
According to the Turkish Naval Forces, the goal of the Invitex EAST MEDITERRANEAN-2021 Exercise is to improve decision-makers’ and troops’ knowledge and familiarity with crisis response operations by creating a realistic operational environment, conducting joint trainings with multinational participation and in a multi-threat environment, providing training opportunities for naval warfare, providing a training opportunity before the certification of the Turkish Naval Force (TURMARFOR) in 2022, providing training opportunities for post-natural disaster response and humanitarian aid scenarios in the event of a regional crisis, contributing to the interoperability between friendly and allied elements and carrying out exercises for the planning and execution of logistics support activities.
Another goal of the exercise is to assess the readiness of the Turkish Naval Task Force, which is expected to take on a critical and respected role within the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2023 and 2028, such as the Naval Component Command. The exercise will be divided into three parts: port training will take place between November 1 and 2, operational readiness training will take place between November 3 and 7, and tactical training will take place between November 7 and 10.
As part of the exercise, Lieutenant Colonel Cüneyt Talayman briefed the observers and members of the press on the landing ship TCG Bayraktar, which is moored at Aksaz Naval Base in Muğla’s Marmaris district, and stated that 26 ships from the Turkish Naval Forces Command, naval patrol aircraft, naval helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, amphibious marine infantry units, Underwater Attack and Underwater Defense task teams, attack and general purpose helicopters from the Ground Forces Command, tactical air support from the Air Force Command (F-16 aircraft), Airborne Warning and Control (HIK) aircraft and transport aircraft, search and rescue teams from the Gendarmerie General Command, coast guard boats and search and rescue helicopters from the Coast Guard Command will participate.
11 observers from Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Oman and Ukraine will be attending the exercise while 1 Boarding Team from Azerbaijan, 1 frigate and 1 Underwater Attack Team from Pakistan, 3 frigates and 1 fuel ship from NATO Standing Maritime Maritime Group-2 (SNMG-2), 1 patrol vessel and 3 mine-hunting vessels from NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Maritime Group-2 (SNMCMG-2) and 1 representative from NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) will also participate in the exercise. The Eastern Mediterranean exercise, which is held every 2 years, was last performed on 09-20 November, 2019.