The Mediterranean: Brilliant Mariner 2013 in Full Swing

Training & Education

Brilliant Mariner 2013 in Full Swing

A large fleet of warships from NATO’s Response Force (NRF) are taking part in Exercise “Brilliant Mariner 2013” which is currently underway in the Mediterranean Sea.

This training exercise enables NATO’s maritime force to respond to operational needs or crisis situations anywhere in the world, as and when required.

Over five thousand military and naval personnel from 12 NATO nations comprising Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States are participating.

The exercise involves a total of 23 warships, including one aircraft carrier, 10 frigates, one auxiliary ship, and 7 mine counter measure vessels. Two submarines and a range of maritime Patrol aircraft are also taking part.

NATO’s Allied Maritime Command in Northwood, UK, is responsible for directing the exercise, ensuring that the NATO Response Force (NRF) is faced with realistic and demanding scenarios, presenting a number of challenges for the participants.

“NATO’s Allied Maritime Command is focused on drawing together the many strands of maritime expertise and activity within NATO, so that we can provide coherence and build maritime situational awareness across the Alliance,” stated Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander Allied Maritime Command. “The operational capabilities you see today is a visible manifestation of that binding power of the seas; capabilities that can offer you the utility of political choice and strategic flexibility, a broad spectrum of joint effects, close interoperability and an important means of operational cooperation with partners”, he added.

Vice Admiral Hudson commented following a visit by the North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO’s foremost political body and the Military Committee which visited the Italian Aircraft Carrier, Cavour, off the coast of Sardinia this week to observe the maritime operational capabilities of the Alliance. Led by NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, this delegation was composed of the ambassadors representing NATO nations at the NAC, the Chairman of the Military Committee, the Supreme Allied Commander – Europe (SACEUR), NATO’s Maritime Commander (MARCOM) and the Commander Italian Maritime Forces (COMITMARFOR).

Brilliant Mariner 2013 in Full Swing2

“Brilliant Mariner is a vital part of keeping NATO’s spearhead sharp and we need to make sure that the NATO Response Force, our rapid-reaction corps, has the sea power it needs to be able to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat,” said Ambassador Vershbow. “Our alliance needs to maintain modern, tightly connected forces that are properly equipped, trained, exercised and led. That is why NATO has launched the Connected Forces Initiative, to ensure that Allies can communicate effectively, practice together, and validate and certify their ability to do so”.

The event provided a valuable opportunity for the ambassadors representing NATO nations in Brussels to see how national maritime units could operate together.

“This was very impressive for all of us and it shows how interoperable and versatile NATO is and particularly its maritime forces,” said Jean-Baptiste Mattei, the French ambassador to the NAC. “The exercise was of an impressive magnitude and gives clearer meaning to NATO’s posture and preparedness”.

Exercise Brilliant Mariner, which wraps up on 6 October 2013, is taking place in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sicily and Sardinia.

Press Release,October 2, 2013; Image: NATO