Den danske fregat Niels Juel afsejler i dag for at deltage i NATO’s flådestyrke i Nordatlanten og Østersøen.

The frigate Niels Juel. Photo: Danish Armed Forces

By the Defense Command


Today, Denmark is deploying the frigate Niels Juel to participate in NATO's standing naval force in the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. Alongside warships from other NATO countries, Niels Juel and its Danish crew will contribute to safeguarding NATO member states' maritime areas, territory, and populations.


"The tasks may encompass all military maritime operations, including assisting in establishing local maritime control and securing maritime communication routes and the right to free navigation, if necessary. The frigate can also support military operations on land and in the air. NATO ultimately determines the tasks the frigate will perform while deployed under NATO's framework," says Commander Henrik Surlykke Lund, who serves as the captain of the frigate Niels Juel.


"With the deployment of Niels Juel in NATO's standing naval forces, Denmark contributes to ensuring that NATO has the necessary forces available to deter potential adversaries from attacking Denmark or other NATO countries and, if necessary, to defend NATO's territory," he adds.


He also mentions that participating in the joint naval force provides another opportunity to operate and train alongside other countries' warships and crews.


"It's yet another excellent opportunity to train and enhance cooperation across nations, building a strong partnership and a combat-ready readiness."


A significant deployment

This mission is not unusual for the frigate. Niels Juel last undertook the same task with the same naval force from February to May of this year. Denmark typically provides crews and warships for various NATO missions at sea several times a year. However, the current situation is somewhat different from previous years.


"It's clear that the situation in Ukraine also has an impact on the situation in our nearby waters, such as the Baltic Sea. Now, more than ever, it's relevant for Denmark, along with other NATO countries, to demonstrate the ability and willingness to protect ourselves, patrol the waters, and show solidarity, strength, and deterrence. Our patrols take on a new significance now, and our preparedness and vigilance have been elevated. Together with our NATO allies, we will maintain an appropriate readiness and continued heightened awareness throughout the Euro-Atlantic region for as long as necessary," says Captain Dan B. Termansen, head of the Navy's 2nd Squadron, to which Niels Juel belongs.


"Frigate Niels Juel is a modern and formidable warship capable of addressing threats across the conflict spectrum with high-tech sensors and weapons. Niels Juel has a high degree of endurance and can operate independently for extended periods without resupply, and, if necessary, can forcefully contribute to defending NATO's territory," he adds.


Deployed on National Flag Day

Niels Juel's departure today coincides with National Flag Day, which is celebrated every year on September 5th, an annual tribute to the soldiers who have been deployed for Denmark over time.


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The crew of Niels Juel participates in National Flag Day in 2016. Photo: Ida Suhr Birkemose / Danish Armed Forces


"The crew members on board are today being deployed on an important mission for Denmark. They are among the soldiers we celebrate and thank today. They consistently demonstrate their readiness to step up and provide a professional and dedicated effort under sometimes challenging conditions and while being separated from their loved ones at home. I am proud to be part of this, and I know that the crew will once again deliver a professional performance," says Commander Henrik Surlykke Lund, captain of Niels Juel.


For next year's Flag Day, Niels Juel's crew will participate in recognition of the mission they are embarking on today, unless they are once again assigned to a task for Denmark. Soldiers who have not been on a mission before will receive veteran status once frigate Niels Juel completes its mission for NATO's standing naval forces.


Exercise Northern Coasts


Frigate Niels Juel is formally assigned to NATO Task Group 441.01, better known as NATO's standing naval force in the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, and will be part of a force comprising ships from several NATO countries. The frigate carries an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, which can be used, for example, to fly out and investigate other vessels and objects of interest. Together, the ship and helicopter can efficiently patrol a vast maritime area.


During the deployment, which lasts until November, the frigate will also participate in Exercise Northern Coasts later in September. Northern Coasts is a naval exercise held in Estonia and Latvia, as well as in the eastern and central parts of the Baltic Sea.


Frigate Peter Willemoes will also participate in Exercise Northern Coasts. Twelve NATO countries and Sweden are taking part in the exercise.