By Zachary Keck, thenationalinterest.com
Beyond drills, there are increasingly frequent real life opportunities to hone the alliance’s ASW skills by tracking Russian submarine patrols.
The episode does make clear that NATO has to devote extensive resources to tracking Russian submarines and that interoperability is crucial. Hence, the need for drills like Dynamic Mongoose and Dynamic Mantra.
While much attention was given to the recently concluded NATO Summit, the alliance has quietly been busying trying to hunt its own submarines.
From June 25 to July 6, 2018, seven NATO members participated in the annual Dynamic Mongoose exercise. Held off the coast of Norway, the exercise seeks to sharpen the alliance’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities at a time when Russia is replenishing its undersea fleet.
Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and the United States were the members that took part in the exercise, according to a NATO press release. The drill consisted of two Norwegian submarines trying to evade the combined capabilities of the eight participants. Norway’s only submarines are its six Ula-class diesel electric boats.
(This first appeared several months ago.)
Among those hunting the Ula subs were seven surface ships from Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Turkey operating under the command of Standing Maritime Group One (SNGM61). Although the press release did not identify the ships that participated, Naval Today said the fleet consisted of two Dutch frigates, one frigate each from the four other countries, as well as a Polish tanker.
“To better enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, each surface ship will have the opportunity to devise and execute a variety of tactics to locate and track submarines,” the NATO press release said.
The surface ships were joined by Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Germany, Norway, and the United States. These aircraft flew out of the Andoya Air Base in Norway and were under the operational command of NATO Maritime Air Command (COMMARAIR).