Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships are taking their at sea training to an advanced level, performing Force Integration Training while patrolling in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, say the Alliance.
Composed of four frigates, NATO ships in SNMG2 TU02 are the Royal Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen, as Flagship, the Royal Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto, the Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gelibolu and the Spanish Navy frigate Santa Maria. In addition to their FIT, NATO Groups regularly conduct exercises with various NATO Allied navies.
On January the 21st, SNMG2 conducted an in-depth air defense exercise with the Hellenic Navy which included Greek Navy ships HS Psara, HS Ritsos and 12 aircraft from the Hellenic Airforce. SNMG2 also conducted an advanced air defense exercise with the Turkish Navy on February 8 and 9, including an air defense exercise involving the Turkish Air force.
According to a news release:
“Similar training was conducted on February 1 with the Turkish Navy Ships TCG Barbaros, TCG Bafra and TCG Akar approximately 250 kilometres south of Antalya in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The exercises included maneuvering and seamanship as well as helicopter operations and various synthetic serials.
Exercises between NATO and Turkish units contribute to the Tailored Assurance Measures for Turkey, as agreed on the NATO Summit in Warsaw, 8 and 9 July 2016 in support of Turkey as part of NATO.”
SNMG2 is one of four Standing Maritime Groups (two destroyer/frigate groups and two mine countermeasures groups) which are multinational, integrated maritime forces made up of vessels from allied countries. NATO say that these vessels are under continuous command to perform a wide range of tasks ranging from deterrent presence and situational awareness to exercises and the conduct of operational missions.
These groups also provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability both in peacetime and in crisis.