ROMANIA --- The Abraham Lincoln (ABE) and John C. Stennis (JCS) carrier strike groups (CSG), together with U.S. Air Force 603rd Air Operations Centers, demonstrated pre-planned, long range targeted strike capabilities in coordination with the Romanian Air Force in Romania, April 25.
By establishing critical channels for joint and partner-nation communication and logistics coordination, the combined force successfully executed the strike, which included defensive maneuvers, aerial refueling, and diplomatic relationship building.
“This is a proof of concept mission in which we are executing combined strike force operations with joint as well as coalition partners,” said Cmdr. Brian Broadwater, executive officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 and one of the strike mission planners.
“The goal of this exercise is to streamline the pre-planning process, the mission planning process and the execution process if we’re ever asked to execute sustained, continued operations with these countries.”
VFA 103 is part of Carrier Air Wing (CAW) 7, which is attached to the ABE CSG.
Carrier strike force operations uniquely enhance the collective capability of U.S. 6th Fleet to conduct multilateral, realistic training events in an increasingly challenging environment alongside allies and partners. The long-range strike training demonstrates the flexibility, agility, and lethality of CSGs and underscores the power of international cooperation among allies.
"Training events like this combined strike force long range strike demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to work with NATO allies and regional partners to rapidly amass dynamically deployed naval power,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Guldner, assistant operations officer for CAW 9, part of the JCS CSG. "Uniform training and standardization across the U.S. naval aviation community allows an ease of transition in working with different carrier and air wing teams, however, it's the fleet level support and commitment of allied and partner nations that gives us the real ability to help provide security and stability to the region."
The exercise required coordination between personnel from numerous organizations, including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Romanian Air Force. Liaison naval officers from ABE CSG and JCS CSG helped streamline communication between the various planning elements for the mission, assisting with refueling logistics, acquiring airspace permissions and providing instant feedback to improve the process.
The strong relationships built during exercises like this are vital to enhancing future response capabilities.
“These complex coordinated exercises are incredibly important because they offer our team the chance to establish key relationships, work through planning considerations, execute, and capture lessons learned which ultimately makes our joint and combined force more agile and lethal,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, commander, ABE CSG.
This marks the first time two U.S. CSGs have worked together in the Mediterranean Sea since 2016. ABE and JCS CSGs will continue to conduct safe operations to improve interoperability and engagement with allies and partners and demonstrate the combat power and flexibility of naval forces.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) deployed from Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Oct. 15, 2018, while the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) deployed from Naval Station Norfolk, April 1, 2019. The carriers are in the midst of a homeport shift with Stennis heading to Norfolk, and Lincoln heading to San Diego.