Here are the most dramatic photos from NATO's mega-exercise in Europe

On October 19, NATO kicked off its largest military exercise in over a decade with an opening ceremony in Tripani Air Base, Italy.

The exercise, called Trident Juncture 2015, includes approximately 36,000 troops, over 140 aircraft, and 60 ships from more than 30 nations.

The exercise’s participants include both NATO countries and nations that are close with the various NATO states without officially being part of the alliance, such as Australia, Austria, Finland, and Ukraine.

Trident Juncture is taking place entirely in the western Mediterranean, with the majority of the exercise occurring in Spain and Portugal, as well as in Italy. The operation will last until November 6.

We have collected some of the most amazing images of the exercise so far below.

This infographic gives a general idea of the sheer size and scope of Trident Juncture 2015.

It is the largest NATO exercise in over a decade and the first major NATO wargame since 2002.

Sgt. Austin Long/USMC
U.S. Marines with the Helicopter Support Team, Landing Support Detachment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) brace against sand being blown around them as a CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), 26th MEU, embarked aboard the USS Arlington, approaches during an external lift training exercise at Pinheiro Da Cruz, Praia Da Raposa Beach, Portugal, Oct. 22, 2015, during Trident Juncture 15.

Since Moscow began its military operation in Syria, Russian jets have also violated the airspace of Turkey, a NATO member, twice.

Sgt. Sara Graham/USMC
Lance Cpl. Arturo Campos, assistant fire team leader for Delta Co., 4th Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, run through dry fire drills during exercise Trident Juncture 2015 in Almeria, Spain, Oct. 27, 2015.

Instead, NATO's Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told reporters during the start of the exercise that Trident Juncture is inspired by security challenges relating to African countries.

Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army
U.S. Marines with 4th Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion participate in a 300 mile convoy from Rota, Spain, to Almeria, Spain, as part of NATO led Exercise Trident Juncture 2015.

Whatever its context, Trident Juncture offers NATO and NATO-supporting countries the chance to better hone their abilities and work together.

Cpl Jeraco Jenkins/USMC
A CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM-162) (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), embarked on the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), prepares to land on the flight deck of the USS Arlington, off the coast of Portugal, Oct. 24, 2015.

That includes offering NATO personnel from other countries the chance to use different platforms than they're used to, such as the US' V-22 Osprey.

Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy/USMC
U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa join forces with Spanish Marines and Portuguese Fuzileiros during a trilateral exercise in Pinheiro da Cruz, Portugal, Nov. 3, in support of Trident Juncture 15.

The operation also provides valuable opportunities for individual units to become accustomed to operating in diverse environments.

Sgt. Austin Long/USMC
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nicholas Chieu, a crew chief aboard a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), sits on the helicopters ramp while flying to participate in a combined helicopter-borne assault training exercise with the Portuguese Marines, near Pinheiro Da Cruz, Praia Da Raposa, Portugal, Oct. 21, 2015 during Trident Juncture 15.

Trident Juncture 2015 will run through November 6.

Cpl Jeraco Jenkins/USMC
U.S. Marines with Fox Company, 1st Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Portuguese Marines rehearse support by fire maneuvers at Pinheiro Da Cruz, Portugal, Oct. 21, 2015. U.S. Marines and Portuguese Marines are participating together in Trident Juncture.

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