NATO ASW exercise Dynamic Mongoose underway off Norway

Ships and submarines from Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) are taking part in the anti-submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Mongoose in the Norwegian Sea and across the Article Circle.

Photo: NATO

The group shifted into the new area of operations from the Baltic Sea where it completed its participation in the US-led exercise BALTOPS in late June.

Dynamic Mongoose is designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare (ASW) integration among NATO navies by executing training exercises with 6 surface ships, 9 maritime patrol aircraft and 8 helicopters training with 4 submarines in the North Atlantic.

“Exercises like Dynamic Mongoose give NATO Allies an opportunity to train in a very challenging deep water/continental slope environment and a surface environment where seas can build from five feet to 25 or even 30 feet in the matter of a couple days,” said Chief Operations Specialist Juan Gutierrez, SNGM 1 Staff Chief of Operations. “This is not only unique for the creation of the exercise but challenging for the navies due to the unpredictable circumstances.”

After completing several safety and training familiarization events, SNMG1 started day three with a Combined Anti-Submarine Exercise (CASEX). In a CASEX, a group of ships and aircraft are given a wide area of water to search for submarines while the submarine(s) playing as the opposing force must try to accomplish simulated missions against the surface forces.

Finding the submarine requires the ships and aircraft to work together in a coordinated search to ensure the submarine doesn’t slip through. Ships have both active and passive sonar, as well as radar and visual sensors to detect submarines. Helicopters are also equipped with radar and visual detection systems and may be equipped with active and passive sonobuoys or use a sonar suspended under the helicopter and into the water to detect a submarine. Maritime patrol aircraft also possess sensitive radars to detect submarine periscopes as all as sonobuoys to create large networks of sensors in the water.

“We started the coordination for the Dynamic Mongoose CASEX’s about three months ago,” said German Lt. Cmdr. Ulrike Boelke-Dorr, SNMG1 Staff Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. “With 27 units from nine countries participating, it’s important and beneficial for all navies to be assigned with their strengths of capabilities, which will provide crucial feedback for future missions.”

Countries participating in the exercise are Canada, France, Germany, UK, Norway, Portugal, US, Turkey, and Denmark.

SNMG1 is currently composed of the U.S. flagship guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely, British frigate HMS Westminster, and Turkish frigate TCG Gokova.