The Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), deployed in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean Sea since the end of March, have been engaged in a two day series of exercises in the area with the forces of Greece and Turkey between 22-24 April, 2020.
The two Group's units in the area, ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis, conducted a PASSEX (Passing Exercise) with the Greek frigate Navarinon, consisting of different scenarios of tactical engagements, simulating multiple threats, including an air defence exercise against two aircrafts of the Hellenic Air Force F-16C/D. The three ships battled challenging weather with strong wind and rough sea in the west of Crete.
The exercises are part of the core business of NATO and the Standing Naval Groups: training continuously with the Allied nations forces, building and maintaining our capability to quickly integrate and act together
SNMG2 also exercised with two units from the Turkish Navy, the frigate Gaziantep and the fast patrol boat Ruzgar, in a complex sequence of communication and manoeuvring drills. This was performed near Aksaz Naval Base, where ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis then sailed to perform a logistic stop. The SNMG2 and the two Turkish units demonstrated their inherent capability to train successfully under a very high standard of performance.
SNMG2 units along with Turkish Navy frigate Gaziantep and the fast patrol boat Ruzgar in formation during a manoeuvring exercise near Aksaz, Turkey on 22 April 2020.
"The exercises that we are conducting during our deployment are part of the core business of NATO and the Standing Naval Groups: training continuously with the Allied nations forces, building and maintaining our capability to quickly integrate and act together," said Rear Admiral (RADM) Paolo Fantoni, Commander of SNMG2. "This is paramount to the objective of providing NATO with a ready Force at sea".
Despite the on-going global pandemic SNMG2, along with the other NATO Standing Naval Forces, has continued its deployment in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea. "The preventative measures put in place", said RADM Fantoni "have enabled us to maintain our readiness unhindered, and are now part of the fundamental objectives of our mission".
Hellenic Navy frigate Navarinon during a passing exercise in the Mediterranean on 23 April, 2020.
SNMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.
SNMG2 currently consists of frigates ITS Fasan, TCG Salihreis and HMCS Fredericton.