NATO ships participating in Italian exercise Mare Aperto in the Mediterranean Sea.
NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom - NATO Maritime Command Headquarters and all of the Standing Naval Forces are participating in various exercises, operations and activities across Europe this week, demonstrating NATO’s defence in 360 degrees. The story below outlines some of the ways in which NATO is providing 360 degree security on the maritime frontier.
Starting in the United Kingdom, NATO Maritime Command Headquarters is conducting exercise Dynamic Bonus, an internal exercise designed to test the Headquarter’s evolving battle rhythm. Moving of the coast of Scotland in the North Atlantic, Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) ship ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón is participating in US-led ballistic missile defence exercise Formidable Shield. The exercise includes ships from the Netherlands, Denmark, United States, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Norway and United Kingdom. Moving north and inland, the remainder of the group, with ships from the United States, Germany, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom, is patrolling the Baltic Sea and working with NATO Baltic Air Policing units during the week.
Continuing in the Baltic Sea, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) with ships from Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom is participating in Lithuanian-led operation Open Spirit. Open Spirit is a historical ordnance disposal operation that clears mines from the Baltic Sea Floor and also serves to train mine hunting ships on live ordnance. In addition to SNMCMG1, the operation also includes ships from France, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, Portugal. The international operation is aimed at clearing the Baltic seafloor of naval mines remaining from World War I and World War II in order to minimise the threat to maritime navigation, fishery, and other economic activities in the Baltic Sea.
Heading south to the western Mediterranean Sea, Spain is hosting Spanish Mine Exercise (MINEX) off the coast of Mallorca. Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) is participating with ships from Germany, Spain and Turkey, joining ships from Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, United States, Belgium and Germany to practice mine hunting and neutralization in the Mediterranean.
Further east in the central Mediterranean, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), with ships from the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom is participating in Italian exercise Mare Aperto off the coast of Italy, honing maritime warfare skills from anti-submarine warfare to air defence. Beyond SNMG2, ships from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the United States are participating. Finally, a portion of SNMG2 is operating a bit further east in the Aegean Sea with ships from Germany, Albania, Greece and Turkey supporting Greek and Turkish border authorities as well as the European Union’s border force Frontex to cut the lines of human trafficking and smuggling.
NATO Maritime is active across the maritime frontiers of the European Theatre and is focused on delivering 360 degrees of maritime focused awareness and connectivity.