• Short Summary


    Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are taking part in joint exercises in the Ionian Sea -- between Sicily and the North African coast.

  • Description

    1. AERIAL VIEW HMS Illustrious at sea 0.05
    2. GVs Harrier jump jets take off from deck (2 shots) 0.15
    3. GV PAN Harriers fly overhead in formation and past ship (3 shots) 0.27
    4. SV PAN Naval officer keeps watch 0.34
    5. GV & SVs Harrier lands on deck of Illustrious (3 shots) 0.54
    6. GV PULL BACK GV Fuel ship passes the Vittorio Veneto (Italian) 1.08
    7. GVs Bomber plane overhead (2 shots) 1.20
    8. SV Gunner manoeuvring gun on Vittorio Veneto 1.27
    9. SV PAN Flare marking site of supposed submarine 1.40
    10. GV Gun swivels 1.45
    11. CU Marker for submarine position 1.49
    12. GV Bombers and fighters move in and 'attack' 2.04
    13. GVs Helicopters fly around the Vittorio (2 shots) 2.19

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: AT SEA, IONIAN SEA

    Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are taking part in joint exercises in the Ionian Sea -- between Sicily and the North African coast. The Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe, Admiral William Small, is in charge of the week-long manoeuvres, code-named 'Distant Hammer.' Britain, Canada, Italy, Turkey and the United States are taking part, with France providing some forces. The operation started on May 7 shortly before a meeting of Nato Defence Ministers in Brussels. The meeting is aimed at improving the Atlantic Alliance's conventional forces, following an announcement from Moscow, that new Soviet missiles are due to be deployed in East Germany. The first part of 'Distant Hammer' included a series of training events. In the second series of exercises Allied naval and Air force units have been engaged in mock-battles, using the full potential of vessels such as Italy's Vittorio Veneto, and Britain's HMS Illustrious, an anti-submarine aircraft carrier with Sea Harriers on board. At the Brussels conference which started on May 14, ministers from 14 Nato nations have been seeking ways to improve European and Transatlantic arms cooperation. Their aim is also to endorse new-technology weapons projects and decide on increased national defence goals for the next five years. However, diplomats say that financial difficulties might prevent a number of states from implementing policies agreed on in Brussels. The new emphasis on conventional defenses is said to be partly due to widespread public anxiety over Nato's deployment of new U.S medium-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe. However conventional arms are more costly than atomic weapons, and European governments may prove reluctant to spend more on defence at a time of general austerity. Indeed, European Nato ministers,, were due to present a film on May 15, to persuade their U.S counterparts that Western Europe is already bearing a fair share of the defence burden. Allied commanders are seeking up to 15 billion U.S dollar
    s in funds over the next six years, more than double the amount most european allies say they can afford. Belgium, in an attempt to cut its budget deficit, is appealing for a reduction in its share of the cost. However other allies are likely to be unwilling to foot the extra bill, although Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine has now announced an increase in funds for the Royal navy. Nato ministers, also intend to press Dutch Defence Minister Jacob de Ruiter to accept the Netherlands' quota of 47 Cruise missiles when his government decides on deployment next month. There is strong opposition to nuclear missile deployment in the Netherlands.


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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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