Italian Navy kicks off Mare Aperto 2022 exercise

Italian Navy Mare Aperto 2022
Italian Navy ships involved in the Mare Aperto 2022 exercise.

The main exercise of the Italian Navy, the Mare Aperto 22 (MA22), began in the Central Mediterranean on May 3, 2022. In the next three weeks, approximately 4,000 troops from 7 NATO nations and over 65 ships, submarines, aircraft and helicopters, will operate between the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Sicilian Channel as well as in the neighboring maritime territories.

The MA22 will also involve several aircraft of the Italian Air Force, including Eurofighter Typhoons, F-35B STOVL, which will operate from the ITN Cavour aircraft carrier, G-550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft and KC-767A tanker aircraft.

The various units involved will practice in the maritime domain, which also extends into the air and on land, and in the innovative ones of space and cyber-security, simulating high-intensity and fast-changing scenarios to test the intervention capacities in different areas. The purposes of missions include the prevention and contrast of illicit trafficking, the fight against conventional and asymmetrical threats, according to a realistic scenario with an approach centered on the concept of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), testing new combinations of use of the forces involved. These include Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), under study in the US Navy, to extend the range of maritime forces and monitor strategic sea areas.

Italian Navy Mare Aperto 2022

The strong “projection connotation” of the exercise will be strengthened by the presence of a landing force made up of over 350 riflemen from the San Marco Marine Brigade with the addition of Lagunari soldiers from the Italian Army and landing forces from the Spanish Navy.

The MA 2022 will also involve 42 students from 11 different universities. Students and teachers are integrated into the staff on board the ships of the Italian Navy and, depending on their course of study, they will engage in various roles, including political advisor, legal advisor and public information officer, as well as being able to learn about prevention and damage control systems, propulsion and highly technological elements of naval architecture.

In the broader framework of strengthening ties with the national maritime cluster, the exercise will also host representatives of the Confederation of Shipowners (Confederazione degli Armatori - Confitarma), the Center for Geopolitics and Maritime Strategy (Centro di Geopolitica e Strategia Marittima - CESMAR), volunteer nurses of the Italian Red Cross and members of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

The main objectives of the exercise also include the development of the capabilities of the new fifth generation F-35B aircraft, preparatory to the achievement of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2024, and the integration process with the other Italian and foreign Armed Forces. The exercise will end on May 27, 2022.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Navy

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