SNMG1 trains alongside UK’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group

The ships of SNMG1 and the UK CSG are seen at sea.

SNMG1 trains alongside UK’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group

By LCdr Mark Fifield,

Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) Ships HDMS Absalon and HMCS Halifax recently concluded their successful participation in exercise Joint Warrior 21-1 (JW21-1) off the coast of Scotland on May 14, 2021.

SNMG1 trained alongside the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group during Exercise Joint Warrior 21-2 off the coast of Scotland.

Joint Warrior is a UK-led multinational exercise held twice a year in the waters around the United Kingdom and is designed to exercise a wide range of high-readiness warfighting capabilities across land, sea and air units in coordinated joint operations. It provides realistic multi-threat scenarios within a safe operating environment into which NATO Allies and partner nations’ formations, units and staffs can deploy and undertake collective training in preparation for any upcoming joint deployments.

This year, JW21-1 took place May 8-20 and was integrated with Exercise Strike Warrior 21 (SW21) for the first time, which is the final stage in preparing the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (UK CSG) for its maiden operational deployment. On completion of JW21-1, The UK CSG, led by the Royal Navy flagship – aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, will set sail to the Indo-Pacific region for a high-profile seven-month long deployment.

Throughout JW21-1, SNMG1 Ships HDMS Absalon and HMCS Halifax were joined by HNLMS Van Amstel, ORP Generał. K. Pułaski, FGS Spessart, HDMS Hvidbjørnen and FS Bretagne, under the command of RCN Cmdre Bradley Peats. The Task Group simulated a belligerent naval adversary for the UK CSG, according to the fictional JW21-1 exercise scenario.

SNMG1 and its consorts began JW 21-1 with a brief Combat Enhancement/Force Integration Training (CET/FIT) programme in the waters off Northwest Scotland known as the Minch. This phase ensured that participating units were fully integrated into the task group and ready to conduct various high-intensity operations and assume specific roles/responsibilities as part of the exercise. Following the CET/FIT phase, the Group entered the free-play phase where units reacted to unscripted events as they happened and interacted with the UK CSG opposition forces in a variety of realistic operational scenarios.

“SNMG1 is proud to have played a vital role in enhancing mutual operational readiness and interoperability with our fellow NATO Allies and partners, especially the UK CSG,” said Cmdre Peats, Commander of SNMG1. “Large multinational training exercises like Joint Warrior improve NATO’s overall defence capabilities while enhancing its responsiveness to deploy high-readiness military forces to conduct coordinated joint operations against various current and future threats, which supports the NATO Readiness Initiative.”