US Deploys in Mediterranean as NATO Brings in 25,000 Troops

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
By Paul Martin

Hundreds of US Marines are set to become part of a 25,000 troop NATO military campaign in the Mediterranean in an unusual move that will see them deployed on British and other European ships as tensions in Eastern Europe rise.

NATO is testing its ability to quickly deploy a Response Force, its highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces, in the face of what it perceives as Russian aggression. It has already deployed extra forces in and around the Baltic area, but is now moving to upgrade its presence in the Mediterranean.

US Marines would normally serve on US ships, however, with its forces currently heavily committed in the Middle East, it has been forced to rely on its NATO allies. The marines will initially test the use of their vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the MV22 Ospreys, on the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, as it requires strong flight decks.

The Osprey is used by the US Marines as it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.

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