“Three Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers — USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, and USS Roosevelt — are supported by fast combat support ship USNS Supply and joined by the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent to assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies,” a U.S. Navy news release said.
Not a big deal, as such joint operations happen every day somewhere in the maritime domain.
What is a big deal, is that the exercise involved said surface action group chilling out above the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea, long a “safe” boomer bastion for the Russian Northern Fleet. Further, other than for Norway which is a “local” in the region, the task force was the largest NATO operation in the region in about 25 years.
ADM James Foggo, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and the commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, said there will be more deployments and more exercises in the High North.
“The Russians are operating with state-of-the-art nuclear submarines,” he said. “That said, we still have the competitive advantage. But they’re good, and getting better.”
More on what that means, here.
Always something captivating about a night transit of a place like this while “haze gray and underway.” Just keep your eyes out.
Official caption: “The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) transits the Bosphorus Strait, en route to the Black Sea, Jan. 19, 2019. Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its eighth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.”
(U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)
The Big Blue first announced in 2012 they were sending a quartet of ABM-enabled Burkes to Spain where they would be forward deployed for emerging threats and provide NATO with some solid ballistic missile defense. Since then, three have gone over and even gotten involved in the Black Sea to a degree in the new cool war between the West and a resurgent Russia.
Now it looks like they will soon be full-up.
USS Carney (DDG 64) departed her homeport of Mayport, Florida, Sept. 6 on her way to Rota, Spain, as the final of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be forward deployed to Spain.
To enhance the security of the European region, Carney will join USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Ross (DDG 71), and USS Porter (DDG 78) who have already made the transition to Spain.
“USS Carney and her crew will play a crucial role in the U.S. contribution to NATO’s ballistic missile defense efforts,” said Vice Adm. James Foggo III, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “Our forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) based in Rota provide a credible capability and support NATO’s broader commitment to regional security.”