Naval ships assigned to the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with the Bulgarian Navy frigate, BGS Smeli, this week in the Black Sea to increase interoperability and practice tactics and procedures.
Exercises such as this, are part of the specific measures for a strengthened NATO maritime presence in the region. NATO is increasing the regularity of its patrols in the Black Sea region as part of a larger reinforcement for the collective defence of Allies referred to as tailored Forward Presence (tFP).
SNMG2, consisting of flagship Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand and Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep, joined with BGS Smeli to exercise the group’s defences against small fast attack craft (in the form of a Bulgarian Navy high speed MIB) and helicopter attack (provided by a Bulgarian land-based AS565M Panther). The group also practiced winching manoeuvres with the Panther.
The Black Sea region is of great strategic importance to all bordering nations. This international water space is bordered by three Allied nations and two NATO Partner nations. NATO conducts exercises and operations in the Black Sea in order to maintain a credible and capable defensive capability in accordance with treaty obligations.