Ships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) are currently underway in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, taking part in what the NATO Maritime Command describes as advanced Force Integration Training (FIT).
The drills are being conducted as part of the group’s patrols in the region.
Composed of four frigates, NATO ships in SNMG2 Task Unit 02 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 21, 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.
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. These groups provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability both in peacetime and in crisis.