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NATO conducts massive submarine exercises in the Mediterranean

NATO conducts massive submarine exercises in the Mediterranean

NATO has started a massive anti-submarine exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. The operation off the coast of Sicily has become even more urgent due to threats to the alliance, while conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have spread to the Black Sea with attacks between Russia and Ukraine, as well as in the Red Sea with attacks on ships by Huthi rebels.

Helicopters hovered over the sea as a large submarine slowly emerged from the sea near Catania, Sicily, and several navy ships monitored the operation.

On board the command ship, US Rear Admiral Thomas Wall, commander of NATO's submarine units, appeared to speak to reporters to reassure European allies at a time when Republican candidate Donald Trump has questioned the commitment of the United States. for the defense of allied countries.

"Not only are we doing this big exercise, but our naval units are also working together on all fronts. The 'Steadfast Defender' exercise, NATO's biggest exercise in decades is underway in the North Atlantic. Navally, we just delivered on our part with combative fire, a clear demonstration of our transatlantic unity and strength," said Rear Admiral Wall.

Former President Trump has said that if he returns to the White House, he would not protect NATO countries that do not meet defense spending. His comments caused alarm in Europe.

Seven NATO submarines from Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States are participating in the complex exercise off the coast of Sicily.

Naval vessels participating in the Dynamic Manta 24 exercise exchange roles tracking each other while coordinating closely with air and naval vessels to improve capabilities in sea combat.

The main objective is to prepare NATO crews to adapt and respond to any submarine threat.

"Today we face the most dangerous and unpredictable security environment in decades. The underwater dimension is essential to safety at sea. It is a part not yet well explored, but vital for all the countries around the Mediterranean Sea", said Alberto Tarabotto, commander of the Italian Navy.

The submarines operate under the direction of NATO Submarine Command and are assisted by maritime patrol aircraft from Canada, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Britain and the United States, as well as naval vessels of NATO's Second Naval Group, commanded by Italian Rear Admiral Pasquale Esposito.

"It's an exercise that focuses on a form of warfare with threats from underwater vehicles," Rear Admiral Esposito said.

The Italian Navy is the organizer of the exercise and provides logistical support from the naval base in Augusta, the port of Catania and the air base in Sigonella. Italy is participating in the maneuvers with the Carlo Margottini frigate, the Morosini frigate leading NATO's Second Naval Group, two submarines and two helicopters. The training will continue until March 8.