Gallery: EML Sakala involved in NATO maritime exercise off Finland, Sweden
Estonia's Navy (Merevägi) has been taking part in a joint NATO naval exercise on the Baltic Sea, off the coasts of Finland and Sweden.
The maneuvers, within the framework of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), to which the Merevägi contributes a vessel, and of the related Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), were particularly relevant given Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, NATO reports on its website.
This has led to the need for the further reinforcement of deterrence and defense at sea just as much as on land and in the air and in cyber space, and at a time when both Finland and Sweden are making preparations for formal applications to join the alliance after decades of neutrality.
The EML Sakala (M314), a mine-hunter, makes up the Estonian contingent in the SNMCMG1 at present, while the group is currently being led by Merevögi Commander Ott Laanemets.
The Sakala has been taking art in the exercises, which started last Monday and run until tomorrow, Tuesday.
Highlights have included close-air-support exercise with a Swedish Navy submarine, covering anti-submarine warfare and the use of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter operations, as well as defensive procedures while entering and leaving port.
Earlier last week, the SNMCMG1 stopped off in Turku, Finland, and practiced mine countermeasures with Finnish counterparts, followed by an exercise in the Archipelago Sea, NATO reports, while SNMG1 went on to Stockholm on Friday and joined Swedish partners in interoperability exercises.
SNMCMG1 comprises Latvian Naval flagship Latvian Navy LNVS Virsaitis, and Royal Netherlands Navy NHLMS Schiedam, as well as the Sakala.
SNMG1 includes flagship HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (Netherlands), FGS Erfurt (Germany), HMCS Halifax (Canada), and FGS Spessart (Germany) as well as, currently, FS Latouche-Tréville (France).
While not yet NATO members, Finland and Sweden have long been the alliance's closest partners, NATO says, and their militaries have many years' experience in training an operating with NATO forces.
Estonia's Merevägi is organizationally a part of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF).
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Editor: Andrew Whyte