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NATO submarine rescue exercise to include Russian vessel ;

June 30, 2011 - AT SEA

The NATO submarine rescue maneuvers called Exercise Bold Monarch II begin on May 30 off the coast of Spain. This year, for the first time, Russia will participate in maneuvers described as the world's largest submarine rescue exercise. Russia holds a non-wartime record: 118 Russian submariners perished after the nuclear Kursk sank in the Arctic in Aug 2000. Held every three years, Bold Monarch involves submarines, ships, aircraft and 2,000 personnel from NATO and non-NATO countries.

The NATO submarine rescue maneuvers called Exercise Bold Monarch II begin on May 30 off the coast of Spain. This year, for the first time, Russia will participate in maneuvers described as the world's largest submarine rescue exercise. Russia holds a non-wartime record: 118 Russian submariners perished after the nuclear Kursk sank in the Arctic in Aug 2000. Held every three years, Bold Monarch involves submarines, ships, aircraft and 2,000 personnel from NATO and non-NATO countries. Russia's participation reflects a military cooperation plan with the Alliance of three to five years, according to Russian General Staff Nikolai Makarov. Quoted in RiaNovosti on May 4, he said the Bold Monarch participation is an example of an approach to "help define exactly what we want to achieve as a result of our cooperation." Russian-NATO cooperation needs to be geared more toward practical results, he said. During the exercise submarines from Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey will be &lsquobottomed' in a sea area just off the coast, north east of Cartagena, according to NATO. Rescue forces equipped with a range of sophisticated debris clearance, diver assisted gear and submarine rescue vehicles from Italy, the United States, Russia and Sweden, together with a jointly-owned rescue system from France, Norway and the United Kingdom will engage in a serialized program to &lsquorescue' the stricken submariners. Specialist divers and hyperbaric medical teams from France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom will work from support ships and be tasked to deal with complex medical problems in a maritime environment. Air units will also deploy from Italy, the United Kingdom and United States to assist in locating the distressed submariners and to deploy parachutists to provide first reaction assistance. The exercise culminates with a 48 hour coordinated rescue and evacuation of 150 survivors, including many casualties, from a &lsquodisabled' submarine. Emphasis will be placed on the command and control of such an incident under internationally agreed NATO procedures. The compatibility between the rescue assets, standardization of procedures and coordination and cooperation between all national elements, both military and civilian, will be demonstrated. With over 40 nations operating submarines worldwide, interest in this exercise is expected to extend to the entire global submarine community including Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Peru and S. Korea and many nations are sending representatives to observe an exercise designed for realism. (WRITTEN May 2011)

Bold Monarch exercise (NATO)

World Submarine Accident Timeline (MapReport.com)

Russia offers NATO 5-year cooperation deal (RiaNovosti 4 May 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-06-30