Nicholas Soames – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Defence

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Nicholas Soames on 2016-04-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the UK’s commitment is to NATO’s Standing Naval Forces for 2016-17.

Mr Julian Brazier

We have increased our commitment to NATO’s Standing Naval Forces this year.

HMS IRON DUKE (a Type 23 frigate) is deployed on a six month assignment with the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1, the Task Group focussed towards the North Atlantic and Baltic. A Type 45 destroyer will join this Group for a further two months later in the year. Since March, we have also provided a Royal Fleet Auxiliary unit to SNMG2 to support the NATO monitoring and surveillance task in the Aegean.

The Royal Navy (RN) will maintain a continuous presence in the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group (SNMCMG) 1, the mine clearance vessels which operate in the North Atlantic and Baltic, with a minehunter assigned throughout. This deployment is conducted by three minehunters in rotation for four months each: currently, HMS PEMBROKE is on task.

In addition, this year the RN is providing the Commander UK Maritime Forces as the NATO Response Force 2 star Maritime Component Commander, with his flagship HMS OCEAN. The RN also contributes personnel to the multinational staffs of the Standing Naval Forces on a rotational basis.

In 2017 the RN will assume command of two of the Standing Groups; providing the Commander and flagship for both SNMG2 and SNMCMG2 prioritised to the Mediterranean. The Command rotation will commence in July 2017 and run until June 2018. Additionally, the RN plans to provide a minehunter to SNMCMG1 throughout 2017, thereby providing UK presence in three of the four NATO Task Groups at some point during the year.