Ships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) fulfilled security duties known as “screen defense”, for the visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush in the Adriatic Sea on Tuesday, 25 October 22.

It was part of the Vigilance Activity Exercise NEPTUNE STRIKE and tested the maritime group’s ability to align in a protective screen formation around the carrier, to provide air, surface and subsurface defence at sea.

Formation defence is a capability, which requires ships – in this case from six different nations – to work together, providing coordinated defence across multiple domains. The maritime group demonstrated peak interoperability and interchangeability, effectively securing Secretary General Stoltenberg’s visit to the US aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush.

“This is what interoperability looks like,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta, Commander of SNMG2. “Our ability to combine one nation’s combatants and safely execute maritime operations with an international task group such as our own exemplifies our capability to be modular and inter-changeable.

“We’ve stressed and practiced this throughout all of our international exercises and vigilance activities. We’re always building and enhancing our capabilities and that’s what increases our readiness and lethality. That’s what makes us ready to fight, and ready to win.”

SNMG2 along with its flagship, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), Alvaro de Bazan-class guided-missile frigate ESPS Cristobal Colon (F 105), Aquitaine-class frigate FS Provence (D 652), Turkish frigate TCG Gemlik (F 492), Rhön-class tanker FGS Spessart (A 1442) and Daring-class air-defense destroyer HMS Defender (D 36) took part in the formation defense and tactical maneuvers with ships from the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWB-CSG).

As a NATO task group, SNMG2 prioritizes its mandate to enhance the collective readiness, responsiveness, deployable readiness, integration and interoperability of its forces.

Its focus is on deterrence and defense against all adversaries in the maritime domain, upholding freedom of navigation, securing maritime trade routes and protecting the main lines of communication.

SNMG2 is a multinational integrated task group that projects a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion afloat. This continuous maritime capability performs a wide range of tasks, including exercises and real-world operations in periods of crisis and conflict.