A NATO task group engaged in a series of dynamic maritime training exercises with the US Navy’s most advanced warship during Exercise Sage Wolverine in the central Mediterranean Sea.

The exercise was the perfect opportunity for Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to hone their advanced warfighting skills and interoperability. Reaffirming their shared commitment to collective defence and security in the region, several NATO nations contributed forces to the exercise, including Greece, Italy, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Three of SNMG2’s ships participated - Turkish frigate TCG Gokceada (F-494), Hellenic Navy frigate HS Elli (F450), and British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan (D37).  The ships were joined by an Italian submarine, a US cruiser and a destroyer, Hellenic Air Force F-16 jets, US maritime patrol aircraft and a variety of maritime helicopters.  At the heart of the exercise was the world’s largest and newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, with its air wing of F/A-18 jets and airborne early warning aircraft.  She demonstrated her formidable capability by launching up to 20 aircraft at a time at the height of the exercise.

All ships and aircraft went through rigorous testing via a diverse range of complex, multilayered tactical scenarios, proving the two different NATO task groups could operate seamlessly together.  These included air defence, long-range maritime offensive strike, anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, communications, replenishment at sea and medical response scenarios.

Commander SNMG2, Royal Navy Commodore Paul Stroude, said, “NATO’s greatest strengths are its warfighting competence and interoperability, however these do not just occur automatically.   They require constant, dedicated hard work and exercises of this nature to endlessly practice and refine a myriad of common tactics, techniques and procedures, and thus maintain readiness.

“Thanks to Exercise Sage Wolverine,” he added, “and the superb co-operation with the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, we remain very well placed to perform our core mission of reassurance, deterrence and, if necessary, the defence of NATO.”