U.S., and British Ships Conduct Anti-Submarine Exercise Above Arctic Circle
(Source: US Navy; issued May 1, 2020)
The U.S. Navy destroyers USS Porter (L) and USS Donald Cook replenish from the fast combat support ship USNS Supply while operating with the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Kent (F 78), not pictured, above the Arctic Circle during a bilateral ASW exercise. (USN photo)
NORWEGIAN SEA --- U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F) conducted a bilateral naval anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise with the U.K., above the Arctic Circle, May 1, 2020.

Four ships from two nations, a U.S. submarine, and a U.S. P8-A worked together, in the Norwegian Sea, to conduct training in the challenging conditions in the Arctic.

For the exercise, Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Porter (DDG 78), and fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), were joined by the Royal Navy's HMS Kent (F 78). Additionally, a U.S. submarine, as well as a P8-A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 supported the training. This exercise reinforces the combined training that the nations received last month while participating in the U.K's Submarine Command Course (SMCC).

"For more than 70 years, 6th Fleet has operated forces across the region in support of maritime security and stability. Our regional alliances remain strong because of our regular operations and exercises with partner navies, and we welcome this opportunity to work collaboratively at sea, while enhancing our understanding of Arctic operations," said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.

The multinational antisubmarine exercise in the High North, made up of approximately 1,200 Sailors from the U.S. Navy and Royal Navy, is the latest in a series of U.S. ships operating above the Arctic Circle. In 2018, elements of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and the USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group operated above the Arctic Circle in support of NATO exercise Trident Juncture. In 2019, the forward deployed destroyer USS Donald Cook and a SAG from U.S 2nd Fleet led by USS Normandy (CG 60) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) also operated separately above the Arctic Circle.

"We are working with our partners to enhance our combined capabilities as we conduct maritime security operations and training in the Arctic region," said Franchetti. "Our ships must be prepared to operate across all mission sets, even in the most unforgiving environments. This is especially critical in the Arctic, where the austere weather environment demands constant vigilance and practice."

The United States is an Arctic nation and has enduring security interests in the Arctic Region. We work with our Arctic and European partners to ensure an open Arctic by continuing freedom of navigation and overflight through the region, as well conducting land, air, and sea operations required for deterrence, presence, and Arctic security.

C6F forces deploy throughout the European and African theater and continue to operate above the Arctic Circle to support a secure and stable region, working cooperatively with other nations to address shared challenges. The two U.S. destroyers, based in Rota, Spain, support NATO's integrated air missile defense architecture. These forward deployed naval forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.

"One of the best attributes of our surface force is that we can aggregate at will, transitioning seamlessly from independent ships to coordinated operations," said Capt. Joseph A. Gagliano, Commander, Task Force 65, commander, Destroyer Squadron 60. "Our interoperability with our allies is so good that we can deploy multinational naval forces with minimal notice. That's the real power of NATO."

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.


Royal Navy Joins Forces with the US in Arctic for Cold-Weather Training
(Source: Royal Navy; issued May 01, 2020)
The Royal Navy has joined forces with the US to practise operations in the icy waters of the Arctic. While many Armed Forces personnel remain in the UK supporting the current national fight against COVID-19, the ship’s company of HMS Kent are focused on ensuring we are prepared for future global threats.

HMS Kent joined two American destroyers, a nuclear submarine, support ship and long-range maritime patrol aircraft above the Arctic Circle this week to hone skills in challenging environmental conditions.

The Portsmouth-based frigate, plus her Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron, is designed to help protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent and keep Britain safe.

For the exercise, HMS Kent has linked up with Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Porter, fast combat support ship USNS Supply, an American P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and a US nuclear-powered submarine.

More than 1,200 military personnel from the two nations are involved – conducting key training in support of the UK’s Defence even while the UK Armed Forces are supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Commander Matt Sykes, the Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said: “I am delighted for HMS Kent to have this opportunity to work with our US allies. Conducting an exercise in the Arctic Circle is a new challenge for the ship’s company whose dedication and professionalism in preparing for this exercise have been impressive.

“The challenges of working in this extreme environment should not be underestimated but HMS Kent’s presence here continues to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the north Atlantic and high north. Finally, I would like to thank the friends and families of HMS Kent for their unswerving support throughout this period.”

Both the UK and the US are committed to ensuring no nation dominates the Arctic region, which is assuming growing importance in the face of increased activity and melting polar ice.

The Arctic exercise comes on the back of Anglo-US anti-submarine warfare training in UK waters just a few weeks ago, when the two allies linked up to help train future boat commanders undertaking the Royal Navy’s world-renowned Submarine Command Course – also known as Perisher.

Lieutenant Georgia Harding, HMS Kent’s Principal Warfare Officer for underwater warfare, said: “This exercise is the culmination of a high intensity period of anti-submarine warfare training that has seen a step change in HMS Kent’s readiness to conduct operations. Being able to work with US Navy ships, submarines and aircraft is an excellent opportunity to further hone our skills in a challenging environment.”

The waters are no warmer than 4 degrees Celsius; sea temperature, as well as salinity and various temperature layers play key roles in how effective sonar is.

HMS Kent’s operations play a key role in the defence of the United Kingdom. The Royal Navy continues to conduct essential training ashore and at sea in order to fulfil its critical outputs now and in the future.


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