27 November 2019 15.00

Exercise Mare Aperto (Open Sea) 2019-2 - second naval training session of the year, conducted by the Italian Navy in the waters between the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea – ended last 22 November.

This twelve-day serial naval exercise was intended to train naval units' crews (the operational arm of the Navy) in the main naval warfare capabilities, including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, Maritime Interdiction Operations (namely embargo operations, control of shipping, compilation of the Maritime Situational Awareness, etc.), and amphibious, hydrographic and minehunting activities. Series of drills of increasing difficulty were designed to consolidate individual training, putting crews to the test in a complex and realistic environment.

Exercise Mare Aperto involved crews of Naval Divisions units, namely 19 ships, 3 submarines, 6AV8 B+, 14 embarked helicopters, 450 Landing Force units with 22 major landing craft and dog units. Air Force assets were also involved in the exercise, specifically Eurofighter, AMX, Tornado and Early Warning aircraft, for the conduct of reconnaissance and escort missions and suppression of enemy air defences.

In total, more than 2,400 personnel (and two dogs) took part in Mare Aperto 2019-2. In parallel with this exercise, the Naval Fleet units conducted search and rescue activities in cooperation with the 4th MRSC Naples, in the framework of the SARMEDOC initiative (involving Italy, Spain and France); MUS (Maritime Unmmaned Systems) testing activities within the OCEAN 2020 Project, implemented by the European Defence Agenc (EDA) and led by Leonardo Spa; and antisubmarine warfare activities with allied French navy, in the framework of Exercise SQUALE 19.

Onboard Italian naval ships, Qatar Emiri Naval Forces observers and students from the University of Genoa, University Aldo Moro of Bari and Libera Università degli Studi Sociali - LUISS Guido Carli of Rome, were also present at the exercise providing support in the role of Political and Legal Advisors, oceanographers/marine biologists and naval engineers.

The cycle of Mare Aperto exercises - aimed at enhancing the Naval Fleet's operational readiness - is a joint initiative that enables joint training of Air force and Navy assets in air defence activities for 'multi-domain' operations.

Operational sea training is crucial to the Italian Navy, since it enables the service to train personnel in the most realistic scenario to fulfil their institutional tasks, thus providing our country with a naval force able to deal with current maritime security challenges.