NATO’s Exercise Neptune Strike 24 Sees Many “Significant Milestones” in Allied Participations

The Turkish Amphibious Attack Ship, TCC Anadolu L400 has participated for the first time in a NATO exercise in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Albania. NATO’s Neptune Strike (NEST) 24 exercise marks the first time Turkey has participated in a maritime NATO drill with an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and amphibious forces.

The Turkish Navy’s flagship, TCG Anadolu, was escorted by the Barbaros-class TCG Salihreis frigate (F-246) frigate and the Ada-class TCG Büyükada (F-512) corvette. Notably, a Turkish-made MARLIN Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) that possesses electronic warfare capabilities and surface-to-surface guided missiles accompanied the Turkish mission in its departure from the Aksaz naval base in the southeastern Aegean, opposite the Greek island of Rhodes.

The Turkish ESG trained alongside Albanian, North Macedonian and Spanish forces from the “Dedalo 24” ESG and conducted an amphibious landing on the Albanian island of Sazan in the Ionian Sea.

Turkish marines seen conducting a critical beach reconnaissance operation on the Albanian island of Sazan with the TGC Anadolu in the background.

NEST 24 sees the participation of Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Türkiye, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.

France’s contribution sees its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, FS Charles de Gaulle, come under NATO command in another historic first. Since April 22, the Charles de Gaulle has been deployed under NATO command accompanied by a French air-defense frigate, a multimission frigate and a nuclear attack submarine, alongside a multinational escort of US, Spanish, Greek, Italian and Portuguese warships.

Rear Admiral Jacques Mallard, commander of the French carrier strike group, has welcomed the transfer of France’s national carrier group under Allied command as an opportunity to “show that we’re an ally who’s doing what everyone else is doing, but also to understand how the chain of command works”.

As a statement by NATO’s Naval Strike and Support Forces outlines, NEST 24 “heralds several significant milestones”, amongst which is the first time that “Spanish and Turkish marines will land on European beaches together, leading the charge on NATO’s amphibious capabilities and sharpening Allied interoperability”.

The exercise sees the participation of an impressive total of 4 aircraft carriers, including the USS Eisenhower and Spain’s Juan Carlos I, with participating NATO warships assigned to 4 Carrier Strike Groups.

The American and French carriers are later set to dock at the Hellenic Navy’s Souda Bay naval base in Crete until May 2 and 7 respectively. A large amphibious landing exercise at the Maleme area near the port city of Chania by Greek and Spanish marines will mark the end of NEST 24 which concludes on May 10.

Konstantinos K
Konstantinos Khttps://substack.com/@polity21hq
Konstantinos is postgraduate student, researcher and founder of Polity21. He writes primarily on Greek-Turkish relations, conflict and power politics in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Academic and journalistic interests also include among others Astropolitics, Remote Warfare and U.S. Grand Strategy.

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