On 16 July at 10 a.m., the frigate “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” returns from the Very High Readiness Task Force (VJTF) to its home port Wilhelmshaven. In its six-month period of operation, the ship was in multinational exercises in the North Sea and the Arctic, together with the porters of the American aircraft carrier “USS Gerald R Ford”. In addition, it took over the top of the association as a flagship and management platform for the association leader, Commodore Thorsten Marx (55) and the staff of Task Group 441.01 of the VJTF (M) who strong staff of the approximately 20 persons.

“It was a long, challenging deployment with a consistently high ‘stroke number’ and at the same time a special atmosphere from the months of close cooperation with ships from various NATO nations. The crew looks back with pride to the time as an association flagship, but we are now also looking forward to being able to return to our families and friends,” says the commander of the “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern”, frigate captain Hendrik Wi├čler (44).

In winter, the “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” sailed from Wilhelmshaven towards Den Helder in the Netherlands and then set course towards the Arctic Circle. On her transit, she took her place as a bandage flagship of the VJTF (M). On the way over the Arctic to the Baltic Sea, Runavik and the Faroe Islands were also moored. Such a port is of course something special for every marine soldier, since the Faroe Islands are otherwise not a typical port of call. The entire mission was characterized by the months of demanding cooperation with the ships of the various NATO nations. During the 180-day period of operation, the Brandenburg-class frigate with its crew covered more than 33,000 nautical miles. This corresponds to about 61,116 kilometers or around 1.5 Earth orbits. At the time of entry, in addition to the 220-strong crew, two on-shot helicopter components Sea Lynx Mk88A including personnel, as well as a dentist group, are also included. The service will continue in the second half of the year, and the 20-man strong staff of the association leader of Task Group 441.01 of the VJTF will start its service on the frigate “Hessen” after the “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” has entered the company.

The crew looks back with pride on the time as an association flag ship and, after this long time, is looking forward to navigating its home port and waiting for its loved ones.

Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is a quickly deployable emergency unit under NATO. As a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the regional defense plans along the eastern flank of NATO have been activated and further forces were moved. Since then, they have been used to strengthen Eastern European NATO countries and are thus intended to take into account increased deterrence and defense capability.

Since its commissioning, four class F123 ships have been used primarily for submarine hunting. To do this, they can use their bow sonar as well as two Sea Lynx-based helicopters. These extend the U-hunting area of the ships with their immersion sonar and torpedoes. Brandenburg-class frigates have powerful radar systems for sea and airspace monitoring as well as for fire leading for weapons. Sonar, electronic warfare systems and telecommunications and data transmission systems complete the equipment.