UK to almost double its deployments to Nato at sea this year

10 February 2016 (Last Updated February 10th, 2016 18:30)

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced plans to almost double its deployments to Nato exercises and activities at sea this year.

NATO

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced plans to almost double its deployments to Nato exercises and activities at sea this year.

As part of the increased maritime commitment, the UK will contribute to Nato's Standing Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), with planned deployments of HMS Iron Duke, a Type 23 frigate, from January to July in the Baltic sea, and a Type 45 destroyer to the SNMG1 from October to November.

The deployments will involve around 400 Royal Navy personnel.

"Increasing our Nato deployments sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies."

Speaking at the Nato Defence Ministerial in Brussels, Fallon said: "Increasing our Nato deployments sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies.

"2016 will see a particular focus on the Baltic region with our ships sent there as part of the Maritime Group, the Mine Counter Measure Group and the Baltops exercise."

The UK will also deploy three mine sweepers, with a total of around 130 navy personnel to Nato's Standing Naval Mine Counter Measure Group.

Each of the mine sweepers will be deployed for four months covering the Baltic Sea, the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Nato can use the UK-led national Exercise Joint Warrior in North Scotlan, and the North Atlantic to train and certify the Nato Response Force maritime and air component commanders for their Nato Response Force (NRF) commitments in 2017.

Additionally, a fleet diving unit will participate in Exercise Open Spirit in Lithuania and Exercise Northern Challenge in Iceland.


Image: UK Defence Secretary at the Nato Defence Ministerial in Brussels. Photo: courtesy of Polish Government.