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SNMG2 Ships Visit AKSAZ, Prepare for MAVI BALINA

AKSAZ, Turkey – Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) ships arrived in Aksaz today for a port visit and to prepare for the Turkish Navy led Exercise MAVI BALINA.

MAVI BALINA is a major anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in the Mediterranean, conducted annually and involving multiple nations, including the Standing NATO Maritime Group in the region. It aims to improve interoperability between Alliance maritime forces while conducting advanced ASW and testing experimental tactics.

"Exercises like this are instrumental in ensuring that our ships and Sailors can integrate seamlessly in times of need,” said Lt. Iain Andrews (GBR N), SNMG2 staff anti-submarine warfare officer. "Training such as this allows us to hone our skills as a staff within a multi-national task group, and combine the knowledge and experience from many different backgrounds, to create a stronger combined approach.”

The main objectives of the exercise are to offer the opportunity to conduct all arms anti-submarine warfare, submarine and maritime air operations and to provide an advanced training opportunity for participating units to enhance their skills and technical knowledge.

During the course of the exercise, SNMG2 units will conduct rapid data collection, coordinated submarine-air operations, practice communication procedures and organize task groups in support of a common goal.

"It is very challenging to conduct exercises with submarines due to the fine line between realism and safety,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christoph Ploss (GER N), SNMG2 submarine element coordination officer. "Furthermore the environmental complexity of submarine warfare, involving subsurface, surface and air assets at the same time, can only be addressed by exercises like these.”

SNMG2 ships participating in MAVI BALINA are the flagship, USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), German ship FGS Niedersachsen (F 208), Turkish ship TCG Kemalreis (F 247), Canadian ship HMCS Toronto (FFH 333), Spanish ships ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (F 102) and ESPS Reina Sofia (F 84).

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