The ships attached to the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) exercised with the Romanian Navy and Air Force on March 30 just off the waters of Constanta, Romania as part of their deployment to the Black Sea.
SNMG2 consists of five ships: Italian Navy FREMM-IT Class multi-purpose frigate ITS Virginio Fasan (F 594), Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), Turkish Navy Barbaros-class frigate TCG Salihreis (F-246), Romanian Navy Type 22 frigate ROS Regina Maria (F-222) and Bulgarian Navy Wielingen-class frigate BGS Verni (42).
As part of the training, the vessels joined Romanian Navy minesweeper ROS Lt. Lupu Dinescu (F-25) and the corvette Zborul (F-188) to conduct a lead through exercise. In this simulated scenario, it means guiding the surface vessels through an area with a suspected high level of risk for sea mines. At the same time, the frigates from SNMG2 would provide force protection from any other threats, as two MiG-21 aircraft of the Romanian Air Force simulated multiple attacks against the ships. A sail past by ROS Zborul concluded the series.
After the exercise, Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Commander of SNMG2, stated: “Today’s exercise has given both the NATO Group and the Romanian Navy and Air Force an invaluable opportunity. It allowed the participants to maintain and strengthen their capabilities and demonstrated how we can integrate readily with assets not belonging permanently to the force. Training exercises like the lead through in anti-mine warfare are critical and challenging: all opportunities like this one must be seized. I really have to thank the Romanian Navy and Air Force for what we’ve achieved today.”
Earlier this week, the NATO group spent three days nested in the port of Constanta, Romania. During the stopover, all measures against the on-going COVID-19 pandemic were applied.
“The chance of this stop in Constanta provided the force with the necessary re-fuel and re-supply in view of our next commitments in the Black Sea. Our crew rested and prepared the mission to reassure freedom of navigation in a very sensitive area for the Alliance,” affirmed Rear Admiral Fantoni.
SNMG2, with the other Standing NATO Forces, conducts regular deployments and complex multinational exercises to maintain the highest level of readiness and warfighting capabilities. The NATO group now continues its activity of High Readiness Patrol in the Black Sea, and will visit the port of Poti, Georgia, at the beginning of April.