The landing platform dock ITS San Marco (L 9893) left the Mediterranean on Wednesday, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar heading west. The ship is headed to the Baltic Sea, where it will participate in the NATO BALTOPS 23 exercise.
The ITS San Marco will also be joined in the Baltic by the frigate ITS Carlo Margottini (F 592), which until May 26th will take part in the multinational exercise Formidable Shield 23, held biennially at the British range on the Hebrides (Scotland) and aimed at improving the interoperability and defense capabilities of the participating assets against the threat of ballistic missiles.
BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) is an annual military exercise, hosted and sponsored by the Commander of the United States Naval Forces in Europe since 1971, in the Baltic Sea and surrounding regions.
The purpose of BALTOPS is to train artillery, sea replenishment, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), radar tracking and interception, mine countermeasures, seamanship, search and rescue, maritime interdiction operations, and scenarios related to potential real-world crises and maritime security.