Integrated NATO naval vigilance force visits Lisbon

A NATO naval force which is to be part of an Atlantic Alliance Task Force, made up of Portuguese, Spanish, German and US ships, assembled in Lisbon on Monday.

The force, lead by Spanish frigate Blas de Lezo, weighed anchor in the Port of Lisbon commanded by Admiral Juan Rodriguez who said that the role of SNMG 1 (Standing NATO Maritime Group 1) was to “carry out maritime vigilance exercises”.

“We are in a preparatory phase to integrate with the Atlantic Alliance which should be completed with certification by June,” he said.

“It means that NATO will certify the fleet to carry out whatever vigilance missions are necessary,” he added.

The force is made up of seven ships which aim to increase compatibility between the navies of various NATO member states and “develop mutual cooperation and confidence”.

Marine Commander Juan Rodriguez said that cohesion between NATO member forces at a naval level was already “extremely well developed” with “many shared common procedures.”

“These days it’s a lot easier for a Spanish naval commander to understand and speak a common naval language in terms of procedure with a Portuguese counterpart than for a Spanish lawyer to understand a Portuguese lawyer,” he joked.

Joining the Blas de Lezo is an antiaircraft defence ship with an AEGIS radar system and weapons capable of firing uninterrupted salvos.

These join the Portuguese frigate Vasco da Gama, the German frigate Lbeck and the US vessel USS Nicholas, all warships that currently are integrated within SNMG1.

SNMG1’s objective is to provide whatever naval assistance might be required in a permanent capacity to NATO forces.

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