Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1), are engaged in Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of northern Norway, starting 7 March.
Held twice a year, Exercise Joint Warrior includes airborne exercises, amphibious landings, evacuations and live-firing. The scenario for Joint Warrior is designed to reflect political tensions in a regionalised conflict, resulting in a build-up of forces from the allied side.
The climatic conditions of an exercise in northern Norway in spring always poses a special challenge. The special feature of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is to demonstrate operational capability even under these adverse conditions
The aim of the exercise is to create a highly challenging environment, so participants can practise tactical procedures and improve their capabilities both as a unit and as a group. Interoperability and teamwork are vital, as well as operational-tactical know-how and the ability to respond appropriately and flexibly to a wide range of threats.
ESPS Alvaro de Bazan during a Replenishment at Sea with RFA Tidesurge
"With the great number of assets, a complex, realistic scenario and challenging environmental conditions, JOINT WARRIOR is quite unique in Northern Europe,“ said Commander Hendrik Wißler, Commanding Officer Frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Flagship SNMG1. "The exercise provides a nearly perfect opportunity for a fully worked-up unit just coming out of FOST-training to put its capablities to the test.“
More than 40 maritime units and 20 aircraft are taking part in the first stage of the exercise, which is led by Norway and the United Kingdom.
Participating nations are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Estonia, France, Poland and Canada. With the inclusion of SNMG1 and SNMCMG1, two of NATO's four standing naval task forces are ready to take on any threat scenario.
However, as is usual in the region at this time of year, one of the biggest obstacles is the weather. Wave heights of over eight metres in the exercise areas have provided a real challenge to the participants.
Nevertheless, Rear Admiral Thorsten Marx, Commander SNMG1, remains calm.
"The climatic conditions of an exercise in northern Norway in spring always poses a special challenge. The special feature of NATO‘s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is to demonstrate operational capability even under these adverse conditions."
SNMG 1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various Allied countries. These task groups form the core maritime capability of NATO’s VJTF and provide a continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions across the spectrum of operations, demonstrating solidarity and strengthening diplomatic and professional links among Allied naval forces.