RAMSTEIN, Germany - On July 20, NATO Air and Maritime forces conducted a joint exercise in the Black Sea to improve Alliance situational awareness and practice air-maritime communications.
In the Black Sea, ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) were joined by maritime patrol aircraft from the Turkish Air Force and the US Navy. The sensors of all these units combined to produce an enhanced picture of maritime movements, both surface and sub-surface within the Black Sea. Simultaneously, airborne early warning aircraft including a NATO E-3A and a Hellenic Air Force EMB-145H working with control and reporting centres on the ground produced a recognised air picture. This air picture, combined with other intelligence, can be shared with all participating units giving commanders advanced indicators and warnings of adversary intentions so a proportional response can be executed.
US Navy P-8A Poseidon ready for take-off for joint missions. It's sensors are able to detect both surface and sub-surface targets making it an effective force multiplier. Archive photo courtesy of US Navy.
Crews aboard SNMG2 vessels are able to interrogate fused data giving them enhanced situational awareness of the maritime and air battlespace. Archive photo courtesy of SNMG2
The ability to fuse sensors and intelligence through joint data links creates a shared situational awareness for NATO that is greater than the sum of its parts
"NATO remains committed to promoting peace and stability with our Black Sea Allies. Activities like this help the Alliance maintain a constant vigilance in the region," said Major General Karsten Stoye, Chief of Staff Allied Air Command. "The ability to fuse sensors and intelligence through joint data links creates a shared situational awareness for NATO that is greater than the sum of its parts," he added.
NATO's multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities gives early warning of movements in the air, on land or at sea, to enable our own assets to operate effectively in their area of operations. Situational awareness further enables them to prepare and react appropriately to any changes in the operational environment.
SNMG 2 currently operating in the Black Sea includes the Italian Navy flagship Fasan, the Romanian Navy Regina Maria and the Turkish Navy Barbaros. Allied aircraft working alongside NATO Maritime Groups regularly participate in exercises in the Black Sea to improve interoperability and practice tactics, techniques and procedures.