By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Steve Galvan, Commander, Navy Region Europe/Commander, 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Sailors from USS Augusta (SSN 710), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and aviators from Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 are participating in a National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led exercise Noble Manta from April 12-22.
The largest joint anti-submarine warfare exercise held annually in the Mediterranean Sea, Noble Manta 2007 involves 10 NATO countries which provide maritime patrol aircraft, surface and subsurface assets. The exercise is in direct support of a Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet strategic priority of improving maritime security.
“This exercise is important because it allows the U.S. and allied partner nations to improve regional maritime security and safety,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Fowler, Commander Submarines, Allied Naval Forces South. “It allows us a unique opportunity to share information to enhance regional maritime awareness and provides a realistic environment to work together in our ultimate goal to disrupt and deter terrorists and maritime criminals.”
Noble Manta 07 is also designed to provide individual NATO Response Forces training for participating units, sharpening anti-submarine warfare skills and providing an opportunity to practice tactics currently being used in real world operations for the global war on terrorism such as Operation Active Endeavor.
In addition to submarine assets, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, a French Frigate and an Italian Patrol Boat will also participate in the exercise. An Italian anti-submarine warfare helicopter from Fonatnarossa will work with VP-5 to provide aviation support.
The exercise will be controlled from the multinational headquarters of Commander, Submarines Allied Naval Forces and Allied Maritime Component Command Naples. Countries participating in this year’s exercise are Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.