UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has revealed new contributions to Nato, which have been negotiated as part of the country's leadership duties within the alliance.
It has also been confirmed that the UK will continue to fulfil its commitment of spending 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, in addition to meeting its target of investing 20% on defence equipment and capabilities.
Fallon has confirmed that the British Royal Navy will take the lead of half of Nato’s maritime forces for one year under the package of new contributions.
The navy’s Type 45 Daring-class destroyer HMS Duncan will lead Nato’s Standing Maritime Naval Group 2 (SNMG2) in the Black Sea and command its counter migration activity in the Mediterranean.
The navy will also conduct exercises together to enhance the alliance’s readiness and potential for collaborative work on operations, along with conducting port visits in the region, including to Ukraine.
Additionally, HMS Enterprise will lead the Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) from July, which comprises vessels from several Nato nations.
HMS Enterprise will be joined by the navy’s HMS Pembroke in the second half of this year.
Fallon said: “Whether it’s in the cyber domain, where I’m committing UK support to Nato operations, or on the high seas with HMS Duncan and HMS Enterprise leading half of the Alliance’s maritime forces in the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea, Britain is playing its full part.”
Fallon has also signed a Statement of Intent regarding North Atlantic Maritime Patrol with his US and Norwegian counterparts in an effort to improve cooperation on the nations’ P-8A maritime patrol aircraft programmes.
It was also confirmed by the Defence Secretary that the UK is strengthening its support in Afghanistan with approximately 85 additional service personnel now scheduled to support Nato activities in the country.
The troops will continue to offer non-combat roles mentoring the Afghan Army and Police, and the Afghan Air Force following deployment, as well as offer further support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in the areas of training and leadership development.