The Turkish submarine TCG Anafartalar conducts maritime operations in Exercise Dynamic Manta 24 (DYMA24). Photo: NATO.

Elite troops took part in the NATO exercise Dynamic Manta (DYMA24) at a tactical level for the first time, adding another layer of complexity to what is primarily an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare training opportunity. Greek maritime Special Operations Forces (SOF) rehearsed daytime and nighttime boarding operations at sea with an Italian submarine and then conducted reconnaissance training ashore. According to NATO it increased the Alliance’s readiness for discreet insertions and extractions when and where required. DYMA24 involved units and personnel from nine NATO nations. There were surface ships from Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States including those assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) while submarines came from France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey. Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPAs) were also involved, contributed by Canada, Germany, Greece, Turkey, the UK and the USA, while Italy was represented in the air by naval helicopters.

Greek Special Operations troops in a high-speed RHIB during DYMA24. Photo: NATO.

As this year’s host nation, Italy provided logistical support in Catania and Augusta harbours, plus via the naval helicopter base at Catania, Naval Air Station Sigonella and Naval Base Augusta (all on the island of Sicily).

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Participating units conducted a variety of exercise serials across multiple warfare domains including a submarine emergency surface, winching between both Spanish and Turkish helicopters and submarines, and extensive tactical communication and manoeuvring drills. Submarines took turns hunting and evading surface ships and air units.

A Turkish submarine captain looks through the periscope of the dived TCG Anafartalar during DYMA24. Photo: NATO.

The exercise was led by Rear Admiral Thomas Wall, US Navy, who is Commander, Submarines NATO based at Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood, UK. “In today’s multithread, multi-domain warfighting environment, our forces must leverage the collective strength of the Alliance to build and understand the entire operational picture from seabed to space and everything in between,” said Rear Admiral Wall. “Dynamic Manta allowed our forces to integrate air, surface and SOF assets enabling them to respond swiftly and decisively to simulated threats as a unified Allied team. I am extremely proud of the work done here and I am confident in our defensive capabilities.”

Commander, SNMG2 at the time of the exercise was Rear Admiral Pasquale Esposito of the Italian Navy. “This kind of major exercise allows us to understand where our doctrine can be improved,” he explained, “and where the technology has to improve, giving us the chance to find the key factors of development that deserve research efforts. In the complex scenarios that our units have to face, technological superiority is a key factor that has to be maintained, and this kind of exercise allow us to lead the improvements where they are needed.” Around a a dozen MARCOM-led maritime exercises are held each year in addition to numerous national exercises, all with the objective of increasing readiness in defence of the Alliance. DYMA’s sister exercise, Dynamic Mongoose, is held in and around the seas of Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap in the North Atlantic.


An Italian submarine showing its fin at a dramatic angle off Sicily, while working with Greek Special Operations forces during the latest DYMA. Photo: NATO.

  • Report based on material provided by NATO.


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