SNMG1 conducts PASSEX training with German Navy

HMCS Halifax conducts task group manoeuvres and a Replenishment-At-Sea with German Navy warships FGS Spessart (right) and FGS Baden-Württemberg (centre) during a PASSEX in the North Sea on January 28.

SNMG1 conducts PASSEX training with German Navy

By LCdr Mark Fifield,

From January 26-29, 2021, 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.

The Commanding Officer of HMCS Halifax, Cdr Chris Rochon, and Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group One, Cmdre Bradley Peats, observe task group manoeuvres with German Navy warships on January 26. S1 BRYAN UNDERWOOD, CAF PHOTO

A PASSEX or “Passing Exercise” refers to training with the 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 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 FGS Spessart as well as German Navy frigates FGS Baden-Württemberg and FGS Bayern, participated in the exercise series. PASSEX highlights included Officer of the Watch manoeuvres, 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.”