NATO and Hellenic Navy vessels on the hunt for mines in Aegean Sea 

Ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 took part in Greek-led mine countermeasures exercise Ariadne 22 from March 7 to 18 in the southern Aegean sea off the coast of Crete.

The Exercise began in Souda with the harbour phase from 7-8 March and progressed to the sea phase from 9-17 March.

Credit: NATO

Participants conducted a series of mine countermeasures tasks based on fictitious scenarios including very shallow water (VSW) operations to facilitate explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal, autonomous underwater vehicle employment, and mine recovery operations.

During Ariadne 22, SNMCMG2 comprised Spanish flagship ESPS Meteoro (P41) and mine hunters ESPS Sella (M32) (Spain), ITS Gaeta (M5554) (Italy) and FGS Bad Rappenau (M1067) (Germany).

The Hellenic Navy also provided critical helicopter support from a frigate, a fast patrol boat, and several minehunters.

Exercise Ariadne is an annual mine countermeasures exercise hosted by the Chief of the Hellenic Fleet designed “to enhance operational and tactical capabilities, and readiness of all participants”

“Ariadne 22 was beneficial for SNMCMG2 as a NATO Standing Force,” Captain Javier Nunez de Prado, Commander SNMCMG2 said.

“There was a robust level of integration among ships and proper training in mine countermeasures were obtained during the TACEX [tactical exercise] phase.”

“This exercise provided the opportunity to promote cooperation and mutual understanding among different units,” Nunez concluded.

Photo: NATO