As part of the training, Romanian Navy minesweeper Lupu Dinescu and the corvette Zborul joined the group to conduct a lead through exercise. In this simulated scenario, it means guiding the surface vessels through an area with a suspected high level of risk for sea mines. At the same time, the frigates from SNMG2 would provide force protection from any other threats, as two MiG-21 aircraft of the Romanian Air Force simulated multiple attacks against the ships. A sail past by ROS Zborul concluded the series.
Training exercises like the lead through in anti-mine warfare are critical and challenging
After the exercise, Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Commander of SNMG2, stated: "Today's exercise has given both the NATO Group and the Romanian Navy and Air Force an invaluable opportunity. It allowed the participants to maintain and strengthen their capabilities and demonstrated how we can integrate readily with assets not belonging permanently to the force. Training exercises like the lead through in anti-mine warfare are critical and challenging: all opportunities like this one must be seized. I really have to thank the Romanian Navy and Air Force for what we've achieved today."
Photo taken from ROS Lupu Dinescu showing Romanian corvette Zborul and TCG Salihreis (in the foreground) during a lead through exercise in the Black Sea, on 30 March 2020.
Photo by: Romanian Navy
Earlier this week, the NATO group spent three days nested in the port of Constanta, Romania. During the stopover, all measures against the on-going COVID-19 pandemic were applied.
"The chance of this stop in Constanta provided the force with the necessary re-fuel and re-supply in view of our next commitments in the Black Sea. Our crew rested and prepared the mission to reassure freedom of navigation in a very sensitive area for the Alliance," affirmed Rear Admiral Fantoni.
The NATO group now continues its activity of High Readiness Patrol in the Black Sea, and will visit the port of Poti, Georgia, at the beginning of April.
Standing NATO Maritime Group Two is currently deployed to the Black Sea and consists of five units: ITS Fasan (Italy), HMCS Fredericton (Canada), TCG Salihreis (Turkey), ROS Regina Maria (Romania) and BGS Verni (Bulgaria). SNMG2, with the other Standing NATO Forces, conducts regular deployments and complex multinational exercises to maintain the highest level of readiness and warfighting capabilities.