February 2, 2021 – Between January 26-29, 2021, the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) led by the SNMG1 flagship HMCS Halifax, conducted a series of passing training exercises with the German Navy in the North Sea.
A PASSEX or a “Passing Exercise” refers to training with national navies of our NATO Allies and partners when passing through or nearby their territorial waters. In this particular case, SNMG1 was transiting through German waters and had a scheduled port visit at the naval base in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
Conducting frequent military-to-military interactions and high-intensity training activities among our naval forces increases our common knowledge and familiarity of each other’s maritime platforms, capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures. As such, this PASSEX presented great opportunities to enhance joint operational readiness and interoperability among participating naval forces for the mutual benefit of all involved. These efforts pay future dividends by improving NATO’s collective capability to respond in a timely and effective manner to threats to maritime security and commerce in the region and around the world across the full spectrum of operations.
“The multinational vessels that comprise SNMG1, including their embarked air assets, have an intensive program of operational patrols and training exercises scheduled with various NATO Allies and partners in our designated Area of Operations (AOO),” said Commodore Bradley Peats, Commander of SNMG1. “This PASSEX was the first among many that will be conducted during this semester and was executed very well, providing us with a solid foundation to build upon in the coming months.”
SNMG1 vessels HMCS Halifax and German tanker Spessart as well as German Navy frigates Baden-Württemberg and Bayern, participated in the exercise series. PASSEX highlights included Officer of the Watch maneuvers, embarked helicopter cross deck evolutions, a replenishment at sea, as well as various other operational training serials.
“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),” explains Commodore Peats. “A task group’s level of readiness to conduct high-intensity naval operations at sea is fundamentally a product of the state of personnel, materiel and collective team training resident within it. This PASSEX with our German Navy friends provided excellent high-intensity training and allowed us to enhance or otherwise maintain currency in a number of critical warfighting skill sets and capabilities.”