Allied forces gather in the Mediterranean for NATO's largest annual Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise
Ten NATO nations will task seven submarines, 18 aircraft (including ship-based helicopters) and eight surface ships to take part in Noble Manta 10, NATO's largest annual Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise, Feb. 10-24.
SICILY, Italy — Turkish Submarine TCG I. Inonu and the German Submarine FGS U-34 moored at Augusta, Sicily, Italy at the beginning of exercise Noble Manta '09. (Archived photo from exercise Noble Manta 2009)
1 photo: SICILY, Italy — Turkish Submarine TCG I. Inonu and the German Submarine FGS U-34 moored at Augusta, Sicily, Italy at the beginning of exercise Noble Manta '09. (Archived photo from exercise
Photo 1 of 1: SICILY, Italy — Turkish Submarine TCG I. Inonu and the German Submarine FGS U-34 moored at Augusta, Sicily, Italy at the beginning of exercise Noble Manta '09. (Archived photo from exercise Noble Manta 2009) Download full-resolution version

Ten NATO nations will task seven submarines, 18 aircraft (including ship-based helicopters) and eight surface ships to take part in Noble Manta 10, NATO's largest annual Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise, Feb. 10-24.

The exercise will take place in the Ionian Sea to the Southeast of Sicily. Forces from Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States are participating in this year's exercise.

Seven submarines, one each from France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and two from Turkey are scheduled to join the exercise. Each submarine will have the opportunity of being a hunter as well as the prey. NATO surface ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, an Italian frigate, an Italian auxiliary and a French frigate will also take part.

The exercise will demonstrate NATO's determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine, anti-surface and coastal surveillance operations using a multi-national force of ships, submarines and aircraft. Furthermore it will aim to provide operational training in potential NATO Response Force (NRF) tasks, roles and missions, as well as exercising procedures for current and future operations and defence against terrorism.

Maritime patrol aircraft and ASW helicopters, contributed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, will operate from air bases in Sicily. More than 100 air missions are planned, which on average will result in a crew briefing every three hours, day and night, throughout the exercise.

The exercise will be controlled from the co-located multi-national headquarters of Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, Commander Submarines Allied Naval Forces South and Rear Admiral David Mercer, Commander Maritime Air Naples, Italy.

"The Noble Manta series started in 2006. It constitutes NATO's main opportunity to train possible NRF forces in ASW operations. While its overall general aims remain constant, every year focus is put on specific aspects of ASW. This year Noble Manta will particularly concentrate on coordinated ASW and NRF-related tasks and missions." Rear Admiral Richardson said.

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