Standing NATO Maritime Group 1

Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) is one of NATO's standing naval maritime immediate reaction forces. Prior to 1 January 2005 it was known as Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT). The group was also briefly called the Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group One.

SNMG1 consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. The force operates, trains and exercises as a group, providing day-to-day verification of current NATO maritime procedures, tactics and effectiveness.

Ships are usually attached to the force for up to six months, on a rotating basis. Units of one nation do not necessarily relieve ships of the same nation. The force commander and the staff are appointed for one year, with the force commander rotating among the participating nations.

Current ships

As of December 12, 2019, SNMG1[1] consists of:


In peacetime, the force exercises primarily in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Allied Command Operations (ACO) has operational command of the force, and the Commander Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood administers the force while in the Eastern Atlantic. ACO delegates operational control to the area commander where the force is operating.


SNMG1 is a component of the NATO Response Force (NRF).


In late November 1966, U.S. Rear Admiral Richard G. Colbert prepared a concept paper proposing a permanent Allied Command Atlantic naval contingency force based on Operation Matchmaker, an annual six-month exercise involving ships from NATO navies. The proposed contingency force was approved by NATO in December 1967 and activated in January 1968 as Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT).[2][3]

The force was under the operational control of SACLANT until it was decommissioned in 2003. Due to the resulting NATO realignment, STANAVFORLANT fell under the operational control of ACO.

In September 2007, SNMG1 was in the Red Sea bound for Suez to complete a circumnavigation of Africa when the Jabal al-Tair volcano erupted. SNMG1 ships assisted the Yemeni coast guard in the recovery of their military personnel stationed on the island.[4]

Since 2009, SNMG1 has been providing ships for NATO's Operation Ocean Shield anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.[5]

On 23–25 March 2012 the group conducted a passing exercise with Carrier Strike Group Twelve, led by USS Enterprise, while carrying out Operation Active Endeavor missions in the Mediterranean Sea.[6] The group's commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering, Royal Netherlands Navy visited Enterprise.[7] At the time the group consisted of the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate De Ruyter, the Spanish Navy frigate Álvaro de Bazán, the German Navy frigate Rheinland-Pfalz, and the Royal Canadian Navy frigate Charlottetown.

In November 2018, HNoMS Helge Ingstad was operating with SNMG1 when she was involved in a collision with a Maltese flagged tanker and had to be deliberately run aground to prevent her sinking. The remainder of SNMG1 stood by to provide assistance.[8]

See also


  1. "Allied Maritime Command - Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1)".
  2. Hattendorf, John B. (Summer 2008), "Admiral Richard G. Colbert: Pioneer in Building Global Maritime Partnerships" (PDF), Naval War College Review, 61 (3)
  3. See also, John B. Hattendorf, “NATO’s Policeman on the Beat: The First Twenty-Years of the Standing Naval Force, Atlantic, 1968-1988,” in: John B. Hattendorf, Naval History and Maritime Strategy: Collected Essays. (Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing, 2000), pp. 187-200.
  4. "NATO ships rescue Yemeni servicemen following volcano eruption".
  5. Operation Ocean Shield Archived 2011-05-13 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "SNMG1 in PASSEX with US Carrier Group". Allied Command Operations. NATO. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  7. "Enterprise Hosts Commander, Standing NATO Maritime Group 1". NNS120326-04. Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs. March 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  8. "Allied Maritime Command - SNMG1 ship accident at sea".
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