Exercise Steadfast Defender comes to the UK Coast

HMCS Charlottetown joined NATO Allies in the North Sea for Exercise Joint Warrior 24, a part of Steadfast Defender 23, on February 24. HMCS / HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN

Exercise Steadfast Defender comes to the UK Coast

By NATO Allied Maritime Command

NATO warships have sailed the length of the UK while conducting the first major live exercise of Exercise Steadfast Defender 24.

Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) carried out gunnery exercises, air defence simulations, and resupply operations alongside a Spanish Task Group while sailing in the English Channel. SNMG1 began its journey in Stavanger, Norway, sailing past Scotland and along the North Sea, before meeting up with the Spanish Task Group.

Throughout Steadfast Defender, NATO demonstrates it can sustain complex operations over several months, across thousands of miles in any condition, no matter how challenging.

The maritime live exercise began with a formation of Spanish, French and Canadian (His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Charlottetown) ships sailing and conducting advanced technical exercises, demonstrating effective cohesion and interoperability between Allies who are familiar with working together. 

The open seas and the English Channel allowed the task groups to respond to many different exercise situations. Wargaming allowed them to practice threat detection, combat, and casualty evacuation drills. Simulated battles between the task groups even allowed them to practice surveillance and targeting of opponent assets, putting into practice electronic warfare, anti-ship missile defence and air-defence capabilities.

The replenishment oiler ESPS Patino has been keeping SNMG1 supplied during Steadfast Defender 24. The ship conducted a replenishment at sea with HMCS Charlottetown on February 16. HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN

Oiler ship ESPS Patino resupplied SNMG1 with missiles, torpedoes, light ammunition, as well as food, water, fuel and spare parts. This capability enables the warships to stay at sea for months at a time, and ensures proper sustainment of NATO forces.

The exercise allowed individual ships from different navies to work together as a team.

“We’ve accomplished a significant amount during our two week exercise in the waters around the UK coast,” said the Commander of SNMG1, Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Joaquin Ruiz Escagedo. “The ships are now fully integrated, and ready to begin more advanced combat enhancement training as we move further north. By the time we reach Norwegian waters, we will be ready to play our role in the most advanced phase of Exercise Steadfast Defender, including amphibious landings and combat strike operations from the UK Carrier Strike Group.”

The ships of SNMG1 visited the Port of Southampton for a short time, before going on to join the Royal Navy for Exercise Joint Warrior – another major part of Steadfast Defender 24.

Steadfast Defender 2024 is meant to demonstrate NATO’s ability to deploy forces rapidly from North America and other parts of the Alliance to reinforce the defence of Europe. It shows that the alliance can conduct and sustain complex multi-domain operations over several months, across thousands of kilometers, from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe, and in any conditions. 90,000 forces from all 31 Allies and Sweden are taking part.