Three NATO ships and a submarine, in cooperation with maritime patrol aircraft, E-3 airborne early warning aircraft and numerous associated ships and submarines, conducted a focused security patrol in the central and western Mediterranean Sea this month.

NATO say that this security patrol focused on gathering pattern of life information and investigating further information gathered on previous focused security patrols to continue to develop Maritime Situational Awareness in the Mediterranean.

In total, the ships monitored 1557 vessels that were operating or transiting the area, numerous ships were hailed and the group conducted friendly visits to 6 ships to gather information from local mariners according to officials.

“Support and cooperation from maritime patrol aircraft and NATO’s E3 airborne early warning aircraft enabled the ships to maintain a multi-domain view of maritime activities. Submarines also provided information on suspicious vessels that was relayed to OSG ships for further investigation.

The coordination and information sharing with EU’s Operation Sophia further enhanced the efficiency and reach of this focused operation. Driven by daily situation reports, intentions and a shared information picture, OSG submarines were able to conduct coordinated hand-offs of vessels or situations for further investigation.”

NATO said in a statement:

“In all, this joint focused security patrol brought together assets above, on and below the surface of the water to build a comprehensive understanding of maritime activities in the central and western Mediterranean Sea.”

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The Snowman

Ideal use of a Gib based T31 or River2 OPV.


… and the sort of operation where a drone that could be embarked by and serviced within a container, maybe something like a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter with a decent surveillance package, would vastly enhance the capabilities of a River2 as far as its surveillance area is concerned.

The River2s can carry a standard ISO container on either side of the crane without encroaching on the flight deck and can do helicopter refuelling so presumably have tankage to carry aviation fuel hence many of the pieces seem to already be in place.

The Snowman

An embarked drone sounds the way forward for the R2, making it a very useful vessel indeed. A group featuring a River2, and OPV/Corvettes from Spain, France and Italy would be able to exert a good level of control over quite a wide area.


I agree. A Schiebel S-100 has even test fired Martlet/LMM. The picture in the Wikipedia article shows it with the 2 x LMM launchers. I’m not necessarily saying S-100 is the way to go, I know nothing like enough about such stuff to have an opinion that detailed, but S-100 certainly seems to be an existence proof of what can currently be done (payload, endurance and operating range) in what form factor and regarding form factor the S-100 is surprisingly (to me) small for what it does.


By the way, I also wasn’t saying this mission needed that LMM capability, I was talking more to your general comment of making R2 “a very useful vessel indeed”.

Andy G

I am very excited about this container space.

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Greg Bacon

To be used to either stop or harass Russian ships heading to Syria.


Good to see Nato is ‘shaping’ the western Med. The Russian naval bases in Cyprus and Syria make the eastern Med contested waters. Whose side is Egypt on these days?

PJ London

Well at least they did not run into tankers or container ships this time, and no NATO sailors were reported killed in the exercise.
The Italian navy surrendered to three inflatables carrying Libyan refugees, but later were rescued and released by the Hungarian Naval forces.

Mr J Bell

Paul you are right. Strategically Turkeys move away from NATO allies towards embracing Russia has been profound. Russian naval vessels are becoming more evident in the Eastern med and should really be countered by Greece and Italian navies with some support from other NATO members. Everywhere and everyone their ships sail in the med they should be followed and observed 24/7. Let them know we have the will and capability to contest every move they make and confront them militarily anytime we choose to. The entirety of NATO needs to look to the sea and sea lanes of communication to… Read more »

Andy G

Good chance we lose turkey. Eastern med as you say looking very contested.
I’d like us, via cyprus, to be taking a lead role here along side greece and italy, possibly with romania.

David E Flandry

Turkey is gone. That very conveniently time coup gave Ergodan the excuse he needed to get rid of military officers he deemed threats, and he went on to purge other elements of the government of moderate officers and officials. The guarantor of Turkish secularism and moderation was defanged.