Following a two-day port visit to La Spezia, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) participated in the Italy-led MINEX exercise 12 – 21 April, 2021. SNMCMG2, consisting of the Turkish flagship TCG Sokullu Mehmet PaÅŸa, minehunters FS Orion (France), HS Evropi (Greece), ITS Termoli (Italy), ESPS Tajo (Spain) and TCG AyvalÄ±k (Turkey), was confronted with a realistic exercise scenario for mine countermeasures operations, including asymmetric threats besides manoeuvring and communication exercises.
“Exercise ITA MINEX was a great training opportunity for SNMCMG2 and forced us to push the limits both in forward-planning capability and in mine countermeasure vessel capacity. All units spent outstanding efforts in harmony and deserve praise.” said the Commander of SNMCMG2, Captain Yusuf Karagulle.
ITA MINEX is an annual mine countermeasures exercise with the aim to improve staff and crew’s performance in planning and conducting mine countermeasure operations in a challenging scenario. These kinds of mine warfare exercises give the units a chance to improve their mine warfare skills, interoperability and mutual understanding among NATO Allies and all participants.
SNMCMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations, additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.