Hellenic Air Force Embraer EMB-145 AEW&C
Hellenic Air Force Embraer EMB-145 AEW&C

NATO Air-Maritime Cooperation Enhances Shared Situational Awareness in the Black Sea

On July 20, NATO Air and Maritime forces conducted a joint exercise in the Black Sea to improve Alliance situational awareness and practice air-maritime communications. In the Black Sea, ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) were joined by maritime patrol aircraft from the Turkish Air Force and the US Navy. The sensors of all these units combined to produce an enhanced picture of maritime movements, both surface and sub-surface within the Black Sea.

“NATO remains committed to promoting peace and stability with our Black Sea Allies. Activities like this helps the Alliance maintain a constant vigilance in the region. The ability to fuse sensors and intelligence through joint data links creates a shared situational awareness for NATO that is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Major General Karsten Stoye, Chief of Staff Allied Air Command.

US Navy P-8A Poseidon ready for take-off for joint missions. It’s sensors are able to detect both surface and sub-surface targets making it an effective force multiplier. Archive photo courtesy of US Navy.

Simultaneously, airborne early warning aircraft including a NATO E-3A and a Hellenic Air Force EMB-145H working with control and reporting centres on the ground produced a recognised air picture. This air picture, combined with other intelligence, can be shared with all participating units giving commanders advanced indicators and warnings of adversary intentions so a proportional response can be executed.

Situational awareness further enables them to prepare and react appropriately to any changes in the operational environment. SNMG 2 currently operating in the Black Sea includes the Italian Navy flagship Fasan, the Romanian Navy Regina Maria and the Turkish Navy Barbaros. Allied aircraft working alongside NATO Maritime Groups regularly participate in exercises in the Black Sea to improve interoperability and practice tactics, techniques and procedures.

Crews aboard SNMG2 vessels are able to interrogate fused data giving them enhanced situational awareness of the maritime and air battlespace. Archive photo courtesy of SNMG2