Aero-Naval Exercise "CANALE" The yearly aero-naval exercise “CANALE” – conducted  and planned alternatively by Italy and Malta in the Central Mediterranean,  now in  its 19th year –  intends to promote cooperation and security in the Mediterranean by fostering interoperability between air and naval forces in maritime surveillance and security operations.For the last few years, the exercise has been open to the 5+5 Initiative member countries, which can participate with their assets and/or personnel at Staff level.The exercise aims at enhancing the training of 5+5 Initiative member countries’ air and naval units through cooperation and integration modes to be implemented in maritime Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), training of EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) teams in underwater activities, conducting inspection activities on board merchant ships and patrol operations, in order to increase the exchange of experiences by training in the use of common standard procedures.Moreover, to implement shared procedures as regards merchant ship traffic, the Virtual-Regional Maritime Traffic Centre (V-RMTC), the virtual network developed by the Italian Navy to share information on merchant ship traffic, is employed.These are some of the challenging training activities, coordinated by the Exercise Command and Control Centre (ECC), conducted during the exercise in order to enhance training  content and exercise the C2 functions of the assets employed. The exercise is conducted in two different phases:A planning phase, which includes the organization of meetings between representatives of the Parties for identifying aims, items of common interest and participants’ assets. During this phase standardization of procedures and rules is also carried out;Aconducting (Livex) phase, during which vessels maneuver at sea all together according to an activity program allowing, by the use of standardized multinational procedures, to increase capabilities and flexibility in various fields of cooperation.   In addition to being a major event in the framework of the bilateral military agreement between Italy and Malta, Canale exercise is also a political and military significant experience in the broader context of the 5+5 Defense Initiative.The involvement of assets and personnel of all the countries participating in the 5+5 Initiative is an effective way to reinforce cooperation among military personnel of various countries, create synergies, standardize and optimize procedures while looking for the best common solutions to face security and surveillance problems at sea in the Mediterranean region. Over the years this exercise contributed to deeply reinforce the relationship between the various countries of the 5+5 Initiative in terms of understanding, limits exceeding and strengthening of each country’s strong points, always working in a very friendly and kind context, as it is necessary within a difficult search and rescue operation at sea.