Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) forces are journeying to the United States and Canada for the Maritime Express initiative.
The SNMG1 assembled in Brest, France, ahead of the mission which will focus heavily on interoperability and building and maintaining readiness forces through a variety of exercises.
SNMG1 includes the guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), the Royal Norwegian Navy Fridjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F-314), the Belgian Navy Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930) and the Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334).
"The Atlantic, where we will be operating, is heavily important for NATO and SNMG1,” said Commander Senior Grade Alrid Skoge, commanding officer of HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl.
"Our time here as SNMG1 ships is an opportunity to enhance transatlantic unity, upon which we will rely if a crisis occurs."
The ships will also carry out NATO Maritime Command’s new Maritime Express construct, which will open up more opportunities for NATO partners to train together.
"By coming together as SNMG1, we will deepen ties with allies and partners while building readiness to respond to any crisis if we are called upon as the maritime element of NATO´s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,” said Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander of SNMG1.
SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various Allied countries. These task groups form the core maritime capabilities of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).