NATO’s Dynamic Manta anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise, which wrapped up in the Mediterranean Sea on 4 March, demonstrated the availability and readiness of NATO ASW assets.
The two-week activity, which took place in central Mediterranean waters off Sicily, is one of two NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) annual exercises dedicated to ASW – the other being Dynamic Mongoose, which takes place in the North Atlantic in June/July.
Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) acted as the central task group with nine NATO countries participating: France, Greece, and Italy contributed submarines; Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States sent surface ships. Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the UK, and the US provided maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs). The presence of such a number and range of platforms underlined the levels of availability that NATO member states are committing to alliance naval activities.
Across the exercise, 16 dedicated ASW tasks were conducted, ranging from basic to advanced level operational scenarios. “Each surface ship conducted a variety of submarine warfare operations during the exercise. The submarines took turns hunting and being hunted, closely co-ordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants,” a Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) statement revealed.
“Ships demonstrated that NATO maritime forces keep on training, and maintain high readiness in the Mediterranean,” stated SNMG2 Commander Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco, an Italian Navy (ITN) officer who led SNMG2 from the group’s flagship, the ITN FREMM frigate ITS Carlo Margottini.
NATO’s SNMGs form a key part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), so maintaining high levels of readiness through exercises like Dynamic Manta is central to underpinning the maritime component of alliance collective deterrence and defence.
“The ability to quickly and effectively combine ships, submarines, and air assets from nine countries clearly demonstrated the alliance’s unity and readiness as the maritime component of the NRF,” added US Navy Commander Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO) Rear Admiral Stephen Mack.
by Dr. Lee Willett