Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) recently conducted maritime operations at sea and port visits with NATO partner nations Finland and Sweden to improve interoperability and understanding between maritime forces. SNMG1’s flagship Royal Netherlands Navy HNLMS Tromp, Norwegian Navy HNoMS Maud, and Royal Danish Navy HDMS Esbern Snare conducted a port visit in Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, Nov. 4-7. While ashore, Commander, SNMG1 Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Jeanette Morang met with the Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Juhana Vartiainen furthering relations with the nation. Following the port visit, SNMG1 conducted training and exercises at sea with Finnish and Swedish navies.
Commodore Morang said, “Finland has been a longstanding NATO partner and their accession to NATO will make the Alliance stronger. Cooperation and integration with Finland is a force multiplier in an area of strategic importance. The visit of our NATO Task Group to Helsinki and our training with the Finnish armed forces will add to this process.”
“Coastal Fleet and SNMG1 have been practicing together after similar visits for many years, but this is the first time we act together since Finland became an official invitee of the Alliance. This doesn’t affect the way we operate together in this exercise, as we have been developing our interoperability for so many years,” Commander of Coastal Fleet, Captain (Navy) Patrik Lillqvist said.
On Nov. 7, Finnish Navy missile boat FNS Tornio sailed with SNMG1 and participated in maneuvering, air defence, and force protection exercises. One successful aim of the activities was to establish and maintain communications at sea, a critical part of at-sea operations and interoperability. After exercising with the Finnish Navy SNMG1 met at sea with Swedish Navy corvette HSwMS Malmo. On their way to Stockholm they conducted intensive training including replenishment-at-sea approaches, high-speed maneuvering, anti-surface warfare, force protection, and hoisting exercises. The last training was part of a medical evacuation exercise, during which a helicopter retrieved patients without actually landing on the ship. Medics transferred the simulated patients to the hospital facility on board HNoMS Maud.
Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) is one of NATO’s standing naval maritime immediate reaction forces. SNMG1 consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. Its role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability. SNMG1 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. SNMG1 also operates under NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). Headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom, MARCOM is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the MARCOM commander is the primary maritime adviser to the Alliance. Like its land and air counterparts (LANDCOM and AIRCOM), MARCOM reports directly to NATO’s Allied Command Operations (ACO), which is located in Mons, Belgium.