SNMG1 practises warfighting skills during Norwegian exercise

March 2, 2021 – Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), including HMCS Halifax, recently took part in Task Group 21-1 (TG 21-1), an annual maritime exercise conducted by the Royal Norwegian Navy in the waters and fjords off the coast of Bergen, Norway.

TG 21-1 supported the training and qualification of NATO future submarine commanders, while enhancing the surface and under water warfighting skills of the participating 11 warships and submarines from six allied nations: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

These vessels were joined by numerous smaller aircraft and helicopters, including the embarked maritime helicopter air detachments on board vessels such as the SNMG1 flagship, HMCS Halifax, and Royal Danish Navy Ship Hvidbjørnen.

These training exercises are designed to increase allied readiness and interoperability, as well as the capability to conduct various high-intensity operations in the challenging Norwegian littoral and Arctic environment which consists of high mountains and narrow fjords.

“Our aim is to provide first class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training, as well as realistic scenarios for submarines,” said Rear-Admiral Rune Andersen, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy. “It is vital that we develop and maintain our basic warfighting skills, and that we do it together. The participation of SNMG1 adds value and improves the quality of the training.”

During TG 21-1, SNMG1 ships included HMCS Halifax, German Navy tanker Spessart, French Navy frigate Latouche-Tréville and Royal Norwegian Navy frigate Fridtjof Nansen.

“TG 21-1 provided excellent and unique training opportunities for SNMG1, especially with respect to validating our ASW tactics, techniques and procedures,” explained Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Bradley Peats, Commander of SNMG1. “It was a privilege to have taken part in such a robust training exercise, renowned as being among the very best in the world. These exercises clearly demonstrate NATO’s collective capabilities and responsiveness to a continuously evolving security environment in the region.”

As TG 21-1 was conducted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, strict force health protection measures and other mitigation protocols were put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among participating vessels and any resulting impacts on operations and training.

This included hosting a virtual pre-sail conference and prohibiting non-essential physical interaction between foreign crews and local assets. When such interactions were deemed necessary, mask wearing, physical distancing and other measures were employed to the fullest extent possible.

Following TG 21-1, SNMG1 participated in the annual week-long NATO exercise Dynamic Guard 21-1 north of Bergen, focusing on air defence and electronic warfare. Designed to build and maintain proficiency in maritime electronic warfare and anti-ship missile defence, Dynamic Guard demonstrated the ability of Allied forces to quickly integrate to accomplish NATO-directed missions and involved various air and surface assets including, for the first time, bomber aircraft.

SNMG1 is one of four NATO Standing Naval Forces that provide the Alliance with a continuous naval capability and presence, which forms the core of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Maritime).

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