While many exercises and events have been cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak, NATO assets keep exercising. The two Standing NATO Maritime Forces of Northern Europe, Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG-1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG-1) conducted a joint exercise in the waters between Norway and Denmark, NATO Maritime Command has announced on 21st April. As we shared before SNMG-2 conducted exercises after being deployed in the Mediterranean.
Between 18-21 April, the exercise gathered five ships from three nations and covered an area from the Southern part of Norway to the Eastern part of Denmark and the inlet Baltic Sea. This is the only time during the first spell of 2020 that the two, for the time being, Norwegian-led forces, will exercise and interact together.
From SNMG-1 the flagship, the Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup and the German oiler Rhon participated, while SNMCMG-1 brought their flagship FGS Donau together with the mine countermeasure vessels Otra from Norway and Willemstad from The Netherlands.
“In the end, there is no doubt that we are totally dependent on each other. The Mine Countermeasures Group One depends on the force protection from SNMG-1, and SNMG1 need the SNMCMG-1`’s ability to clear or counter mine threats. The recently conducted training stresses the core in the NATO alliance, and show that we easily cooperate in accordance with NATO procedures, regardless of nationalities, responsibilities and expertise. Both forces have crucial and complementary strengths that make us stronger together in our common commitment to defend all Allies”, said Commander senior grade, Henning Knudsen-Hauge, Commander of SNMCMG-1.
The exercise gave the participants the opportunity to interact in a range of different maritime areas such as replenishment at sea, towing, gunnery exercise and protection of the ships, as well as advanced manoeuvring.
“The interactions and training of the two groups is of great value. The area selected included also some minor challenges with civilian shipping, but that was intended to ensure realistic training. This also builds a good foundation for later activities in exercises and operations. I have enjoyed the way both groups professionalism have flourished these last days”, said Commodore Yngve Skoglund, Commander of SNMG-1.