War ships from eleven nations have been taking part in the annual NATO Mediterranean naval manoeuvres, closely watched by Soviet "trawlers" of the Mayak Class - Soviet Intelligence collectors.
War ships from eleven nations have been taking part in the annual NATO Mediterranean naval manoeuvres, closely watched by Soviet "trawlers" of the Mayak Class - Soviet Intelligence collectors. The exercise which began off the coast of Portugal on April 25 will end on May 11. The highlight of the exercise, named "Dawn Patrol" will be an amphibious landing on the coast of Sardinia with air support on Tuesday (7 April).
The purpose of Dawn Petrol is, according to NATO, to strengthen the operational readiness of the NATO and national forces in their defence tasks in the strategically important area of the Mediterranean and to test the NATO capabilities in anti-submarine operations and air defences.
The NATO Atlantic force has joined up with the Mediterranean force of the exercise.
On Sunday, (5 May) a the fleet sailed towards the Straits of Messina, a suspect submarine was located and this suspicion was further strengthened when an R.A.F. Nimrod spotted a Soviet submarine support ship.
On Sunday the NATO force was engaged in convey protection exercises.
For the first time since withdrawal from NATO eight years ago, the French Navy is making a large contribution to the NATO exercise. This is against a background of uncertainty over Britain's continuing interest in the area. A British Government policy review is investigating the future of Britain's defence establishment in Malta, Cyprus and Singapore.
One Portuguese vessel took part in the early part of the manceuvres in the Atlantic.
SYNOPSIS: A major NATO naval exercise involving warships of eleven nations was nearing its climax in the Mediterranean on Sunday (5 May).
The manoeuvres, called "Dawn Patrol", started on 25 April and will end on 11 May.
As usual the annual exercise has been closely watched by Soviet ships that look like trawlers but, in fact, collect intelligence.
A helicopter hovers over the position of a suspected Soviet submarine - a suspicion strengthened by the spotting of a submarine support ship.
The exercises are designed to strengthen the operational readiness of the NATO and national forces in a strategically important area. Anti submarine and convoy protection capabilities are being tested. And the highlight of Dawn Patrol will be an amphibious landing on Sardinia on Tuesday.