Royal Navy remains at the heart of NATO as organisation marks 73rd anniversary

Topic: Operational activityInternational partnership Storyline: NATO Task Group

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation marks is 73rd anniversary today – with the Royal Navy at its heart.

NATO was formed in the USA on April 4 1949 by 12 countries and now has 30 member states, 28 of which are in Europe.

Currently the Royal Navy’s biggest warship HMS Prince of Wales is acting as NATO’s command ship for its Maritime High Readiness Force – an international task group formed to deal with major global events – and has been deployed in that role to Exercise Cold Response in the Arctic.

She was joined for the Norwegian-led multinational exercise by HMS Albion, Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender, Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond, RFA Tidesurge, RFA Mounts Bay, and more than 900 Royal Marines.

Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland and minehunter HMS Grimsby are currently operating with NATO, while Offshore Patrol Ship HMS Trent and Type 45 HMS Diamond have recently been part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean.

HMS Richmond has just completed a deployment working with navies and personnel from NATO, as well as those from the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 are normally deployed to the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions respectively, but both are available to deploy wherever they may be required.

Each task group is typically made up of between four and six destroyers and frigates from the various member states of NATO, with ships serving with the force for up to six months at a time.

The groups take part in a number of operations, exercises and maritime security patrols, as well as regional engagements such as conducting port visits.

Ultimately, the groups help to establish a global NATO presence and demonstrate solidarity between participating nations. They also conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation, and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.