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02 May 2024

Hunting the Hunters part 2: NATO exercise puts Allied anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare capabilities to the test

Hunting the Hunters part 2: NATO exercise puts Allied anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare capabilities to the test
NATO Allied Maritime Command
NATO Allied Maritime Command Press Release

Ships, submarines, aircraft and thousands of personnel from 10 Allied nations have converged to test their skills during NATO Allied Maritime Command’s (MARCOM) Exercise Dynamic Mongoose 24 from April 29 to May 10 in the North Atlantic Ocean. 

Exercise Dynamic Mongoose is an annual anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) exercise designed to prepare NATO maritime crews to respond and adapt to any type of threat from seabed to space. It is an opportunity to train submarine crews to evade and respond from deep below the surface, while simultaneously training surface vessels and air assets to detect submarines and address the threat below the waves. 

Allied units from Canada, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States will conduct this highly complex submarine exercise led by Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO) between Norway and Iceland in the expanse of water known as the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom-Norway (GIUK-N) Gap. The cold environmental conditions at this time of year in the region present their own set of challenges that crews must overcome in addition to the exercise serials. 

Hosted by Norway, the exercise began in Stavanger, with elements scheduled near the Faroe Islands. It will end in Reykjavik, Iceland. Air bases in Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom will support the participating Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

This will be the first time Sweden has participated in a NATO maritime exercise since its accession as a full member of NATO on March 7. 

“We are excited to incorporate the stealth of one of Sweden’s advanced, silent Gotland-class submarines into Dynamic Mongoose this year,” said Commander, Submarines NATO U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Wall. “We’ve been collaborating with the Swedish Navy for many years so the interoperability is already there. They bring the experience of a submarine crew well versed in shallow water operations so to have them in our Allied maritime force composition firmly enhances our collective defence in the region.”

The exercise includes submarines from the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also includes aircraft from Canada, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. And the multinational surface ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), commanded by Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Joaquin Ruiz Escagedo aboard flagship ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon, as well as other surface ships from Germany, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom will also participate in the exercise.

Each unit will have the opportunity to conduct a variety of submarine-warfare operations. The submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted, closely coordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants, while an in-stride debriefing team will provide feedback that can be built upon during the exercise for immediate improvement.

“As NATO’s maritime force we leverage exercises like Dynamic Mongoose to hone our team’s proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, safeguarding the Alliance against multi-domain threats,” Wall said. “The crew of every single submarine, ship, and aircraft participating in this exercise bring a unique perspective and valuable capability to the table. I continue to be proud of the work they have done and now it’s time to put it all into practice.”

Dynamic Mongoose runs concurrently with NATO’s exercise Neptune Strike (NEST) 24-1, held in the Mediterranean Sea and Baltic Sea regions from April 26 to May 10. NEST is a multi-domain enhanced vigilance activity that demonstrates responsive employment of high-end maritime forces commanded and controlled by NATO. Conducting these two complex, multi-domain exercises simultaneously illustrates the Alliance’s ability to execute missions across the entire Euro-Atlantic area.

Dynamic Mongoose is one of nearly a dozen MARCOM-led maritime exercises held each year in addition to numerous national exercises, which increase maritime readiness in defence of the Alliance. Its sister exercise, Dynamic Manta, is held in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea as part of the continuous submarine warfare training and cooperation comprising the hi-end submarines of Allies.

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