Standing Maritime Groups of NATO hold combined drills off the coast of Crete

Photo Source: NATO MARCOM

Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) have performed a combined training exercise with the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) mine hunters just off the island of Crete, NATO Maritime Command has announced on 26th March via official website.

In a moment of severe risk posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the interaction has provided an excellent opportunity to consolidate combat capabilities of all units, specifically in those scenarios involving asymmetrical threats, like the risk of sea mines.

As part of the training, SNMCMG2 performed a lead through, guiding the surface vessels through an area with a suspected high level of risk for sea mines. At the same time, the four frigates from SNMG2 would provide force protection from any other threats.

Frankenthal-class minehunter

This kind of complex exercise is one of the many performed throughout the deployment of the SNMG2.

“These activities enabled the forces to operate in their multinational mission of high readiness, maintaining broad-spectrum capabilities, at the disposal of the Allied nations in such a complicated situation dictated by COVID-19. The ability to interoperate effectively and at all times, is vital to the effectiveness of a complex force at sea that aims to represent an important instrument of diplomacy and presence”, said Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Commander of SNMG2.

SNMG2 is composed of the Italian frigate Fasan, Canadian Frigate Fredericton and the Turkish Frigate Salihreis, which carries the role of the flagship, demonstrating the wide interoperability of the Alliance in using multiples platforms for Command and Control of Maritime Groups.

NATO’s four Standing Naval Forces comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

Sun ray over NATO groups sailing in the waters off the island of Crete (Source: NATO MARCOM)

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