Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) participated in the Italy-led exercise PHIBEX off the Sardinia coast 12-23 April, 2021. Maritime and air assets from Italy and SNMG2 exercised together in the Central Mediterranean Sea providing an outstanding and not so common opportunity for the Group to train in amphibious operations, enhancing all warfare areas. The NATO Group brought two surface units to the exercise, ESPS Mendez Nuñez, the flagship and TCG Kemalreis, both fitted with organic helicopters.
During the execution phase, SNMG2 units had the opportunity to focus mainly on amphibious operations, where the Group contributed to maintain sea control and local air superiority in the area of operations and provided force protection and air defence to the amphibious task force. After completing this exercise, SNMG2 will resume its programme of activities in the Mediterranean Sea, including maritime security awareness in associated support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian, as well as participation in exercises with Allies and partners.
“This exercise represents an outstanding opportunity to train in littoral waters and amphibious operations. At the same time we continued to maintain the readiness of the Force at its maximum and are ready to be deployed in any type of scenario where SNMG2 could be required to operate,” says Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre, Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.
The Standing Naval Forces are under the control of NATO Allied Maritime Command which responds to Allied Command Operations. SNMG2 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.