Over 50 vessels and 20 aircraft were at sea off the coast of Sweden taking part in the international exercise Northern Coasts which started on September 8.
NOCO 2017 is an exercise that focuses on increasing the navies’ ability to operate together during war and crisis management situations.
The exercise runs through September 21 and is based on a fictitious high-intensity conflict scenario, within the framework of an international force with UN mandate.
Countries taking part in the drill include Belgium, Denmark (with command and support ship HDMS Absalon and frigate HDMS Niels Juel, Germany (with frigate FGS Bayern, mine countermeasure ships Pegnitz, Siegburg and Sulzbach-Rosenberg, and tender Elbe, Estonia, Finland (with minelayer Uusimaa), France, Canada, Croatia, Latvia (with minelayer Virsaitis), Lithuania, the Netherlands (with frigates Tromp and Evertsen), Norway (with SNMG1 flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup, two Skjold-class corvettes and minesweeper Hinnøy) Poland (with frigate Generał Kazimierz Pułaski and corvette Kaszub), Portugal, Sweden (with patrol ship Carlskrona, stealth-corvettes Karlstad und Härnösund), Spain and the USA.
“The Baltic Sea Region is of major strategic importance for NATO. The region includes six Allied nations and two important NATO partners in addition to Russia,” said Flag Commander Petter Kammerhuber, who leads the NATO Force SNMG1 this fall.
In addition to providing an opportunity for all participants to hone their interoperability, Northern Coasts will test the initial operational capability (IOC) of the Swedish-Finnish Naval Task Group. The two countries spent the past couple years preparing to achieve IOC in 2017.
Now in its tenth edition, the German-organized exercise Northern Coasts has a different host country every year. The previous two editions of the exercise were hosted by Germany in 2015 and Denmark in 2016.