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NATO’s Standing Naval Forces finishes Exercise NORTHERN COASTS 2015

KIEL, Germany –NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group One (SNMCMG1) have concluded their participation in Exercises NORTHERN COASTS 2015 (NOCO 15) during Group’s deployment into the Baltic Sea.

Surface ships, a submarine, and several air assets from 16 different nations successfully completed the German-led Exercise NOCO 15. Participants stated that the exercise was an outstanding and demanding training opportunity, where NATO, Partnership for Peace and European Union units trained in a complex and well developed scenario consisting of a large spectrum of maritime warfighting areas. The exercise focused on maritime capabilities in support of stabilization operations, conflict prevention and crisis management.

During the first week, NATO units trained in air defence against missile attacks simulated by jets, fighter bomber attacks and asymmetric attacks from the air. Surface units were engaged in multi-target exercises, with live firing on air and surface targets. Practice in anti-submarine warfare tactics, boarding operations, advanced seamanship skills, replenishment at sea, and towing manoeuvres were also performed.

During the second phase of NOCO 15, SNMCMG1 was tasked to conduct timed mine hunting in areas where practice mines of different sorts were laid. This operations was conducted under simulated air, sea and asymmetric threats. SNMG1, with the help of additional surface combatants, provided effective protection for SNMCMG1, who successfully completed the assigned mine hunting task. In addition to the mines exercise, a number of mines and other historic ordnance objects were discovered and neutralized. During this phase, SNMG1 also disrupted simulated piracy attacks and smuggling activities involving commercial shipping.

"This exercise offered an excellent opportunity for SNMCMG1 to operate in a hostile environment, while SNMG1 provided the necessary protection, allowing mine-hunting operations to continue unhindered,” said the Commander SNMG1, Rear Alberto Correia, Portuguese Navy.  "The environment off Danish, German and Swedish, coasts in the shallow waters of this Baltic Sea region give us an additional challenge for planning and execution of Maritime Operations, to respond promptly and effectively to all threats in order to accomplish our mission.”

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