As tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean grow against the backdrop of a conflict in Syria, Turkey is preparing to host the Blue Whale 2018 military exercise.
The exercise, scheduled to take place between Sept. 28 and Oct. 7, will be joined by naval and air warfare units from the U.S., the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania and Saudi Arabia. Greece and Spain will also dispatch a frigate each for the exercise while the United States will send a patrol vessel. Observers from NATO headquarters will monitor the exercise.
It aims to test the battle preparedness of the participating forces. It will involve submarine defense scenarios, submarine and surface unit operation drills.
Turkey will join the Blue Whale 2018 with four frigates, five submarines, two corvettes, a logistics support vessel, a patrol vessel, six helicopters and a number of air force units.