NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise Concludes
ATLANTIC OCEAN – Yesterday, ships, submarines, and maritime patrol aircraft successfully completed the annual NATO anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Exercise DYNAMIC MONGOOSE, in which 10 Allied nations participated alongside partner nation Sweden.
The exercise was run by Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) through NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), in close coordination with the host nation Norwegian Navy. Surface forces participating in the exercise were led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO.
"The determination and resolve of all participants allowed our task group to perform at a high level," said Rear Adm. Williamson in a message to the participating units. "Your detailed attention enabled our success and allowed us to complete the exercise safely."
DYNAMIC MONGOOSE was conducted off the west coast of Norway, in waters known to be challenging for ASW operations due to the topography of the area, with the Norwegian coastal waters offering plenty of places for submarines to hide. Within the exercise, surface ships were divided into multiple task units, each responsible for devising their own tactical approach to tracking and engaging a submarine playing the role of adversary.
"This exercise tested our forces' abilities in a highly challenging operational environment, with equally challenging weather conditions," said Captain Iain Breckenridge, Assistant Chief of Staff for COMSUBNATO. "It confirms the resolve of NATO maritime forces to keep their warfare skills at the highest level. We will share the lessons we have learned with all Allied navies to ensure they benefit fully in reinforcing their ability to address threats to Alliance security."
During the exercise, units practiced advanced warfare techniques in detection and classification, surface engagement, air engagement, and tactical coordination. In turn, the submarines participating in the exercise honed their ability to evade detection.
"DYNAMIC MONGOOSE was an excellent opportunity for our sailors to improve proficiency in Allied procedures and tactics," said VICKSBURG Operations Officer, Lt. James Hostetler. "Our ability to bring ships and submarines together while operating within 1,500 yards of each other is a testament to our strong interoperability. This exercise tested the skills of our combat watch teams and strengthened the teamwork not only within each ship, but also across the force."
For many Sailors, the ability to train on ASW techniques with other nations was an invaluable opportunity.
"Our NATO Allies and partners have very capable submarines that make it difficult, but not impossible, to execute our ASW mission. I have always enjoyed a challenge and on that front they have not disappointed," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Willis Langdon. "I feel that with each of our successful exercises, we only improve our abilities. We are able to take away lessons learned for all units and nations involved."
Each task unit also employed the use of their organic air assets, helicopters, and utilized fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft also participating in the exercise. According to SNMG2 Staff Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Tomas Cordon, the most important tools to track a submarine are the air assets. From the air, helicopters and other aircraft are used to locate the submarine and the surface ships then coordinate an attack. The exercise also provided a great opportunity for the participating submarines to learn how to evade the surface and air units, and presumably launch an attack.
"I think that DYNAMIC MONGOOSE has proven to be a very successful exercise," said Cordon. "It's been a great opportunity to exercise our ASW skills and to practice tactics and procedures. Even in this very demanding environment, our operators increased their knowledge and abilities exponentially."
For more information about SNMG2 visit "Standing NATO Maritime Group 2" on Facebook.