THE Royal Navy's HMS Roebuck led a six-vessel NATO task force into Palma yesterday for a brief visit.
Roebuck took over command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), a multinational force of six ships including mine hunters and a survey ship, at the start of the year and, as flagship of the NATO squadron, she is acting as the mother-ship for the flotilla which includes vessels from the Belgian, German, Estonian and Dutch navies.

A second Royal navy ship, the minehunter HMS Ledbury is also part of the NATO task force.
SNMCMG1 is an integral part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) which is a “coherent, high readiness, joint, multinational force package” of approximately 25'000 troops that is “technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable”.

Its role is to act as a stand alone military force available for rapid deployment by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a collective defense, crisis management or stabilisation force, or to act as an initial entry force for a subsequent primary deployment.

The NRF consists of land, air and sea components provided by NATO members.
Contributed forces first train together and then become available for a 6-month period before being replaced by the new force.
The purpose of the NRF concept is to provide NATO with a robust and credible high readiness capability, which is fully trained and certified as a joint and combined armed force, able to deploy quickly to participate in the full spectrum of NATO missions wherever required. The concept of NATO Response Force was first endorsed with a declaration of NATO's Heads of State at the Prague Summit on 22 November 2002 and was fully developed by October 2006.

The squadron, which is moored up in the Porto Pi naval base in Palma, is expected to be in Palma for just a few days before continuing with its NATO training mission and operations in the Mediterranean.


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