Allied Maritime Command
December 3, 2022
Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) joined 12 nations for Finnish Navy exercise Freezing Winds in the Baltic Sea from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2.
One of NATO partner nation Finland’s largest maritime exercises, Freezing Winds offered both the Finnish Navy, as well as participating nations and NATO, valuable training opportunities…in the Baltic Sea region.
The exercise focused on interoperability between the multinational joint forces.
“Cooperation with the Finnish Navy remains strong,” Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Jeanette Morang, commander SNMG1 said. [We] wanted to learn in this exercise to develop a deeper understanding of regional maritime issues specific to Finland.”
Twenty-three vessels and nearly 5,000 troops participated in different scenarios throughout the exercise in the Gulf of Finland and Archipelago Sea areas. This provided participants a challenging program in a broad range of maritime warfare skillsets from air defense to mine countermeasures, and submarine warfare to counter-surface measures….Participating nations, including observers, were Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Exercise Freezing Winds was the first opportunity for SNMCMG1 to participate in a Finnish naval exercise,” Estonian Navy Commander Laanemets, commander SNMCMG1 said. “We learned to operate in archipelagic and freezing weather conditions, but also got some very good insight on how our prospective Allies from the Finnish Navy are operating.”
Currently, SNMG1 comprises flagship Royal Netherlands Navy HNLMS Tromp and Royal Danish Navy HDMS Esbern Snare. After replenishing USS Paul Ignatius on Nov. 28, Royal Norwegian Navy HNoMS Maud left the group after three months of deployment.
SNMCMG1 currently comprises flagship German Navy FGS Mosel and FGS Sulzbach-Rosenborg, and French Navy FS Croix Du Sud.
The Baltic Sea region is of great strategic importance to all bordering nations. Co-operation in the area is of particular interest for NATO as six Allied nations border the Baltic Sea. NATO deploys maritime forces in the Baltic Sea…in accordance with treaty obligations.