From June 11 to 24, Russia will, for the first time, be taking part in the training programme Baltic-American Operations 2002 (BALTOPS 2002) with NATO countries. Representing Russia will be the Baltic Fleet escort vessel Fearless, which set sail yesterday from the port at Baltisk for Gdynia (Poland), where all the participants will gather.
As the Baltic Fleet press-service said, Fearless had earlier worked as part of the united squadron on BALTOPS 94, but only in the first phase of the exercise, as part of the programme Partnership for Peace. This time it will take part in the second phase, in which formerly only the ships of NATO countries took part. The Russian ship will lead ten training stages, the goal of which is to develop mutual work with the USA and NATO in carrying out peace-keeping operations on the Baltic Sea.
Fearless was built for guarding convoys, reconnaissance raids, destruction of submarines and ships, and defence against sea and air attacks. Its crew consists of 210 people. From 1996, it has consistently won awards for its artillery and anti-aircraft training, as well as defence against sea vessels.