Allied Maritime Command – Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 improves interoperability with Finland, Sweden
SNMG1’s flagship Royal Dutch Navy HNLMS Tromp, Norwegian Navy HNoMS Maud and Royal Danish Navy HDMS Esbern Snare conducted a port call in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, 4-7 November. On shore, Commander, SNMG1 Royal Dutch Navy Commodore Jeanette Morang met the Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Juhana Vartiainen, to promote relations with the nation.
Coastal Fleet and SNMG1 have been practicing together after similar visits for many years, but this is the first time we are acting together since Finland was officially invited to the Alliance.
After the port visit, SNMG1 conducted training and exercises at sea with Finnish and Swedish fleets. On 7 November, the Finnish Navy’s missile boat FNS Tornio sailed with SNMG1 and participated in maneuvering, anti-aircraft and force protection exercises. A successful objective of the operation was to establish and maintain communications at sea, a critical part of operations at sea and interoperability.
“Coastal Fleet and SNMG1 have been practicing together after similar visits for many years, but this is the first time we are acting together since Finland became an official invitation to the alliance,” said Coastal Fleet Commander Captain (Navy) Patrik Lillqvist. “This does not affect how we work together in this exercise, as we have developed our interoperability over so many years.”
Commodore Morang added, “Finland has been a long-standing 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 force to Helsinki and our training with the Finnish Armed Forces will contribute to this process.”
After training with the Finnish Navy, SNMG1 rendezvoused at sea with the Swedish Navy corvette HSwMS Malmö. En route to Stockholm, they conducted intensive training including sea approaches, high-speed maneuvering, anti-surface warfare, force protection and lift exercises. The final exercise was part of a medical evacuation exercise, during which a helicopter picked up patients without actually landing on the ship. Doctors transferred the simulated patients to the hospital facility aboard HNoMS Maud.
“Our participation in these trainings demonstrates cohesion and it contributes to mutual understanding of tactics and methods as well as interoperability,” Morang said. “Credible deterrence and defense requires training, which allows us to stand stronger together.”
SNMG1 operates under the NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). Headquartered in Northwood, UK, MARCOM is the central command for all NATO naval forces and the MARCOM Commander is the Alliance’s principal maritime advisor. Like its counterparts on land and in the air (LANDCOM and AIRCOM), MARCOM reports directly to NATO’s Allied Command Operations (ACO), located in Mons, Belgium.