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Exercise Dynamic Manta 2023 (DYMA23). 27 February-10 March 2023. Historical Training Scenario.

Exercise Dynamic Manta 2023 (DYMA 23), February 27-March 10, 2023. Historical Training Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Mediterranean Battleset and the HCDB2-170308 new standard 1980-2025 Platform Database. This scenario is designed with advanced Scenario Editor and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/NATO side or from the Red/NATO side. You should play a few times first the Blue side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red side.


Image: The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS James E Williams (DDG-95) flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 on this time period, departs from Norfolk, Virginia, for Mediterranean NATO deployment, December 2, 2022. Photo released by Commander, US 2nd Fleet Public Affairs, took by a serviceperson on duty, and in consequence on public domain.


This text begins as the usual introduction to Dynamic Manta exercise previous years, but this time is for more real, as we are for a year living in the abyss edge.

From the eventful year of 2014 the World was beginning the so-called Second Cold War, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB lieutenant colonel) was showing clearly his plan to recover the Russian Empire and later Soviet territories for reinstitute the greatness of his Russia, and to guarantee his passage on the History as saviour of the Rodina.

At last the Russian campaign for the invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, 2022.

But was only the apex and last outcome of a succession of military actions. From May 2014 Putin was provoking in succession the Crimea, Ukraine, Donetsk, Baltic States, October 2014 Swedish submarine incursion, G-20 Brisbane meeting naval crisis, November 2014 Faslane submarine incident, frigate Yaroslav Mudryy February "Channel Dash", April 2015 Finnish submarine incursion (for many observers causing the pre-mobilization of Finland reserve forces), Russian intervention in Syria from 30 September 2015, shoot-down by Turkish F-16 fighters equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM on 24 November 2015 of a Russian Su-24M as consequence of the repeated unlawful overflights of Turkey by Russian warplanes based in Latakia, and after two months of repeated warning, March 2016 detection by the French of a Russian submarine near Bay of Biscay and the SSBN base, the propaganda stunt of the deployment of the only one Russian aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov steaming (a lot, literally) from Kola Bay towards Eastern Mediterranean from October 15, 2016, and with constant and multiple Russian overflies with military warplanes entangled in potential incidents with commercial flights in Europe, so far as at the Portuguese shores.

That without counting in other unrelated naval incidents aside the upcoming Second Cold War, just as the Iranian seizure of the merchant Maersk Tigris in 28 April 2015, the shore-based anti-ship missile attacks against the catamaran transport ex Swift (HSV-2) and US destroyers on the Red Sea in October 2016 and the ulterior retaliation, the first military operation of the Trump Administration on January 28, 2017, the MV-22B tiltrotor raid of SEAL Team 6 operating from USS Makin Island (LHD-8) against Houthi Yemen, and later on January 30, an Al-Madinah-class Saudi frigate was attacked and damaged probably by a Houthi suicide or drone boat off Al Hudaydah, Houthi Yemen. (And neither counting in great landlocked actions, as the counter-Daesh operations in Middle East).

And meanwhile, more towards Far East a less perceived and growing problem was China, as reflected in the transfer of the 60% of the USN and USAF combat forces to the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 2012, move to be completed by 2020.

The first iteration of this scenario was designed six years ago, based in the big anti-submarine exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 begun in 13 March 2017, and was not interpreted by many journalists as an answer to the latest Russian actions and menacing postures as in the case of Dynamic Mongoose 2015, as it was actually a yearly exercise. But in the current world situation was legit to think otherwise. Four years later the reality was probably those and other continuous exercises, the NATO Baltic Air Policing, and the deployment of token NATO ground forces in the Baltic States and rest of Eastern Europe, are showing to Putin's Russia the resolution to defend Europe and allies as a whole, and preventing the development of a hot war.

But from 2017 to 2022 the international situation was going worse. Increased tensions and open conflicts in Eastern Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the recent, fast, innovative and decisive war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the increased foreign operations of Iran, Qatar and the UAE, including proxy attacks against Saudi Arabia and the crescendo of the Turkish military power cutting ties with the Western alliances. Not an easy near future for the new President Biden and the traditional European partners.

But ... by hazard the previous lines were wrote and posted (minor corrections aside) for Dynamic Manta 2022 in February 25, 2022, just minutes before the first news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From then, all we live in a different and more extreme world.

But standard procedures and drills need to continue.

Nowadays Dynamic Manta 2023 is centred in Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, commanded by Rear Admiral Michael Scott Sciretta, USN, composed this time by the flagship Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95), Italian Navy FREMM ASW-variant frigate Carlo Margottini F-592, Turkish Barbaros-class/Meko 200TN Track-IIA frigate Barbaros F-244, and Greek Hydra-class/Meko 200HN frigate Psara F-454), and many others air, surface and subsurface elements.

Of course this is a training exercise and actual shots, torpedoes and missiles aren't fired and nobody is hurt ... but in the alternate timeline we share now everything is possible, and that previous affirmation can be untrue.

Enrique Mas, March 25, 2023.


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Notes on some units:

- Greek P-3B Orion were retired from service in 2009, but structurally overhauled and returning to service from May 17, 2019. The first one returned in the original configuration, four others are waiting for a return in updated configuration, including EL/M-2022A radar.

- The submarine concrete classes and names (Aside Turkish Preveze, a Type 209-1400, Scire, an Italian Type 212A and a Greek Type 214) participating in DYMA23 are not verified.

- It is not clear the identity of an Italian AOR, if present. The rest of NATO ships present in DYMA23 is verified.

- British Poseidon MRA1 are represented by Australian P-8A.

- The some 38 Italian Tornado IDS are not depicted in the scenario, as Kormoran 1 AShM was retired circa 1997.

- Italian G550 CAEW are represented by Israeli equivalents.

- Meteor AAM missiles apparently are not yet deployed in Italian Eurofighter as on March 2023 (Also, in the Air Forces Monthly of May 2023, the Meteor service use in Italian Eurofighter is depicted as "shortly").

- Longshot HAAWC stand-off ASW weapon (with Mk54 torpedo) achieved at last IOC on November 2022.

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  • 1 month later...
3 hours ago, Tony said:

I wonder if they are heading for Northern fleet bases for maintenance since back seaports are not available. They are a long way from home otherwise.

Or they've booked into a commercial port in UK for grease and oil change? 😄

  • Haha 1
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