The Swedish island of Gotland hosted defence drills as part of Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 22, an annual United States-led maritime exercise. Situated roughly 100 kilometres off the Swedish coast, Gotland has a commanding view of the Baltic Sea, which makes it strategically vital terrain for the Swedish Armed Forces. As part of BALTOPS 22, Swedish soldiers practised the rapid reinforcement and defence of the island against a simulated enemy, played this year by the United States Marine Corps’ 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU).
BALTOPS 22 involves forces from 16 countries, with over 45 ships, more than 75 aircraft and 7,500 personnel participating. The exercise will end on 17 June 2022. The exercise is led by the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Italy, with Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), based in Portugal, implementing command and control of the exercise. Sweden is hosting this year’s exercise, which coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Swedish Navy.