Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) Concludes Exercise NIRIIS 22
Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) Concludes Exercise NIRIIS 22

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) Concludes Exercise NIRIIS 22

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) concluded its participation in Greek Exercise NIRIIS 22 on Nov. 12 in Souda Bay. Hosted by the Chief of the Hellenic Fleet, NIRIIS 22 is a maritime exercise based on a Crisis Response Operation (CRO) scenario for NATO, European Union, Mediterranean Sea, and Partnership for Peace nations. The exercise was held in Hellenic territorial and international waters and comprised various maritime activities including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, force protection, maritime interdiction operations, and mine countermeasure operations. The exercise ran Nov. 7-12 and culminated in a complex and robust fictitious tactical scenario exercise demonstrating NATO’s interoperability at the maritime-component level.

SNMG2 ships that participated were U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), Spanish Navy guided-missile frigate ESPS Cristobal Colon (F 105) and German Navy tanker FGS Spessart (A 1442). Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) participated with elements from its task group as well: Royal Netherlands Navy minehunter HNLMS Vlaardingen (M863), Belgian Navy minehunter BNS Narcis (M923), Spanish Navy minehunter ESPS Duero (M35), Portuguese Navy patrol vessel NRP Viano de Castelo (P360) and Italian Navy minesweeper ITS Chioggia (M5560).

An MH60R “Jaguar 606” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60) conducts flight operations on the flight deck off of the Forrest Sherman.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standing maritime immediate reaction force. SNMG2 consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. Its role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability. SNMG2 is a component of the NATO Response Force (NRF). The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high-readiness force comprising land, air, sea and special forces units capable of being deployed quickly. Until February 2022, when NATO activated it in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, units assigned to the NRF had only been used to assist with disaster relief and security at high-profile security events. On 25 February 2022 after a NATO meeting, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was activated for the defense of members of the alliance, for the first time.

As a NATO task group, SNMG2 prioritizes its mandate to enhance the collective readiness, responsiveness, deployable readiness, integration and interoperability of its forces. Its focus is on deterrence and defense against all adversaries in the maritime domain, upholding freedom of navigation, securing maritime trade routes and protecting the main lines of communication. SNMG2 is a multinational integrated task group that projects a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion afloat. This continuous maritime capability performs a wide range of tasks, including exercises and real-world operations in periods of crisis and conflict. SNMG2 and SNMCMG2 are two of four Standing Naval Forces that operate under NATO Allied Maritime Command, headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom.