Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO – Facts and figures of the second half of 2015
WILHELMSHAVEN, Germany – Yesterday the German frigate FGS HAMBURG entered her homeport in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, concluding her duty as flagship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG2) during the latter half of 2015.
On June 25, Rear Admiral Jörg Klein (German Navy) assumed command of SNMG2 in Kiel, Germany and the German frigate FGS HAMBURG took over the role as flagship SNMG2. After last preparations in the homeport of Wilhelmshaven, HAMBURG set sail towards the Mediterranean. On July 15, the ship pulled into the port of Palma de Mallorca, and the reassembly of the force began.
Canadian and Spanish ships joined the group in Palma, and during the remaining months eight additional units from Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Turkey and the USA served under the Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO flag.
The Group supported three large multinational NATO exercises: in DYNAMIC GUARD, the units sharpened their air defence and electronic warfare skills off the Spanish Atlantic coast; during DYNAMIC MANTA in the Western Mediterranean Sea, the Group tested its abilities to search for and detect submarines. The training activities of SNMG2 culminated in the participation in NATO's biggest exercise in more than a decade, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015.
In addition to the NATO exercises, the Group participated in numerous nationally-led exercises with the Hellenic, Israeli, Tunisian and Turkish Navies, enhancing interoperability with Allies and partners in the Mediterranean. During several exercise scenarios, different nations provided fighter aircraft and patrol aircraft for the best possible training benefit. In Souda on the island of Crete, groups of the ships' company also participated in an ashore training at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre.
SNMG2 also provided invaluable contributions to NATO's counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, patrolling and monitoring the sea traffic and checking suspicious merchant vessels.
The final port visit of 15 in 6 Mediterranean countries came December 7 in Haifa, Israel, before the SNMG2 ships FGS HAMBURG and HDMS ABSALON set sail towards their homeports. Upon arrival in Wilhelmshaven, the SNMG2 flagship HAMBURG finished a tour of 31.500 nautical miles (58.000km) – a distance of almost one and a half times around the world.
In January 2016, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under the command of Rear Admiral Jörg Klein will return to the Mediterranean with a new flagship, the German combat support ship FGS BONN.