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Submarine Joins Standing NATO Maritime Group in Counter-Terrorism Operation

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Over the weekend, the German submarine U33 completed its support to Exercise NOBLE JUSTIFICATION and joined Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) in support of NATO‘s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), marking the first time in over two years that a submarine has been placed under tactical control of an SNMG.

The submarine will join the surface warships USS LEYTE GULF (U.S., flagship of SNMG2), TCG KEMALREIS (Turkey), FGS NIEDERSACHSEN (Germany), HMCS TORONTO (Canada), and ESPS ADMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON (Spain) under overall command of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brad Williamson.

The Type 212-class submarine serves as a force multiplier while the Group conducts underway operations in support of OAE, increasing maritime situational awareness through covert intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

"Having an underwater warfare asset as part of SNMG2 provides our force with a unique set of capabilities we can utilize to successfully execute our mission," said Rear Admiral Williamson.  "I hope that U33‘s assignment to our force serves as the impetus for many future submarine deployments with NATO‘s Standing Naval Forces."

Submarines frequently provide support to NATO operations in the maritime domain, predominantly for the Mediterranean based OAE. This support most often involves providing information to NATO MARCOM that helps to build maritime situational awareness, while remaining under operational and tactical command and control of the individual submarine operating nations. The last time a submarine supported NATO‘s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD off the Horn of Africa was in 2012.   

Deploying a submarine under tactical control of an SNMG has been done infrequently in recent years, but plans to better integrate submarines into Allied maritime operations are necessary to help NATO meet the challenges it faces in the future.

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