German Navy’s Non-Combat Mission in Aegean Sea

Since February 2016, NATO has made a significant contribution to the NATO Response Force with the naval task force Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). As a naval force component in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) they belong to the spearhead of NATO. This association can move to crisis areas within a very short time, for example to defend alliance areas. The frigate “Lübeck” is part of this VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.

The frigate “Lübeck” is currently on a mission to create a situational picture for the Greek and Turkish coast guards and for the European border protection agency Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency through the Aegean Sea. The aim is to improve the exchange of information so that the authorities in the neighboring countries can take effective action against human trafficking networks. The association has the task of contributing to a complete picture of the situation in the Aegean. Information on smuggling activities is provided equally by Greek and Turkish authorities and the EU border protection agency Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency made available. The frigate “Lübeck” is in this same deployment commitment of the Bundeswehr for the fourth time in six years.

A picture of the situation can be described as follows: It is made up of all available information that helps the decision-maker to fulfill his or her mission. Essentially, the process of creating a picture of the situation consists of the following steps: receiving information, evaluating and presenting it, and then passing on the information.

“Lübeck” is able to collect and evaluate situational information in various ways. On the one hand, this happens via its own sensors. Various large radar systems for air and sea surveillance, navigation radar and various optical sensors are available. All recorded data and findings converge at one point – the operations center (OPZ Operations Center).

On the other hand, confidential sources of information from the news system are stored in the OPZ Operations Center evaluated, processed and ultimately included in the situation picture. But the bridge also makes a significant contribution to the situation picture. Individual information, such as name or position, is constantly transmitted and received via the Automatic Identification System (AIS). Almost all ships worldwide are equipped with the AIS – regardless of whether they are civil or military. Information is also collected and processed with the help of electronic nautical charts, but also in the classic way via lookouts.

As a result, the bridge and the OPZ take effectOperations Centerlike cogs in each other. Especially in narrow and demanding sea areas, for example the Aegean, all information is used to sail safely and to fulfill the task of creating situation reports.
A comprehensive picture of the situation is therefore indispensable – also in order to make the best possible decisions in a possible battle. Knowledge creates security of action and makes it possible to act and react quickly and safely when the situation changes.

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