18 Mar 21. USAF B-2 Spirit aircraft arrives at Lajes field to join BTF missions. Three US Air Force (USAF) 509th Bomb Wing (BW) B-2 Spirit aircraft have arrived at Lajes Field in Portugal.
Three US Air Force (USAF) 509th Bomb Wing (BW) B-2 Spirit aircraft have arrived at Lajes Field in Portugal.
The bombers are set to take part in the upcoming Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions that will enable crews to maintain high readiness levels.
BTF missions demonstrate the commitment of the US to collective Nato defence while proving USAF Global Strike Command’s capabilities.
Before the aircraft take off for the BTF missions, airmen from the 509th BW will conduct a ‘hot-pit refuel’ of the B-2 bombers and ‘a crew swap with engines running’.
US Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa commander-general Jeff Harrigian said: “These missions will add even more depth to this already historic Bomber Task Force iteration.
“B-2s joining the B-1s in theatre offers unique opportunities to advance our readiness as we continue to work with and learn from our allies.”
According to the USAF, the B-2s will perform several BTF sorties and depend on Lajes Field due to its strategic location to carry out crucial mission tasks.
The B-2 is a low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber that can penetrate sophisticated and dense air-defence shields.
It is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000ft, with a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refuelling, giving it the ability to fly to any point in the world within hours. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
17 Mar 21. Is Augmented Reality the Future of Dogfight Training? This Company Thinks So. A California-based company wants to prepare more Air Force fighter pilots to dogfight Chinese and Russian opponents by using artificial intelligence and augmented reality as antagonists while they’re actually flying in real-time training.
Daniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6 Aerospace, said his company’s latest technology could provide more affordable and advanced training.
Robinson was the first British Royal Air Force pilot to train on the F-22 Raptor in the U.S., graduating from the two-month training program at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in 2006. While assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, he said he observed the same thing that a Government Availability Office report found more than a decade later: Fighters like the F-22 are not being used to their full potential, with severely limited opportunities for pilot training.
“I really identified the core of the problem that I wanted to solve, and that was, in essence, ‘How do we train?'” Robinson said in an interview this month with Military.com.
The company, which received an investment from Lockheed Martin, has been working with AFWERX — an Air Force innovation program that partners with small businesses and academia — over the last three years through a series of Small Business Innovation Research contracts. The company expects to receive a Phase III SBIR contract soon valued between $25m and $70m, Robinson said.
Through the combination of modified hardware and software technologies Red 6 has created, pilots would wear a display technology or visor on their helmets while flying in a fighter aircraft.
Artificial reality is a smart computer or machine that learns over time. Augmented reality blends the digital space with the real world — unlike virtual reality, which is all in the digital world.
“This technology works in a real airplane against artificial intelligence-driven augmented reality aircraft up in the sky, which is a fascinating thing to contemplate,” Robinson said.
“When we look through that visor, we see synthetically generated aircraft, or virtual aircraft … that are not actually really there,” he said. The generated images are made possible by the Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, known as A-TARS, which works in tandem with the tactical AI made by EpiSci.
The AI-driven image “looks at maneuvers and fights” in relation to a pilot, who is flying a real airplane at the time. “Those synthetically generated aircraft are driven and controlled by artificial intelligence — so it’s the craziest thing. You have something that doesn’t exist, that you see and perceive to exist, controlled by artificial intelligence,” Robinson said.
The Aggressor Gap
The Air Force has worked to contract more pilots, many of whom are U.S. military retirees, to fill the “red air” aggressor training gap, allowing more active-duty pilots to attain air-to-air training on the friendly, or “blue air,” side.
In 2019, the service issued an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the red air program to ATAC, a subsidiary of Textron Airborne Solutions; Air USA Inc.; Blue Air Training; Coastal Defense; Draken International; Tactical Air Support, known as TacAir; and Top Aces Corp.
Outsourcing the service’s assault and combat training to these companies cost $6.4bn, according to the contract announcement.
But is it enough? The service wants quality training, not quantity, said Mike Holmes, a retired general who was head of Air Combat Command between 2017 and 2020. He is now chairman of Red 6’s board of directors.
“The real shortage that I faced was a shortage of experienced fighter pilots,” said Holmes, who took part in the interview with Robinson. “There aren’t enough hours and flight time available for pilots to practice advanced air training.”
Contracting with more companies for additional aircraft isn’t the solution, he said. “Even if there were enough contract sorties available to do it, can you afford to pay for the fuel for all those flying hours?” Holmes said.
Today’s pilots need to practice against an aircraft that can behave like a Chinese stealth fighter — not a dated aircraft, Robinson added.
“The kind of threats that we may be called to go against in any kind of near-peer conflict are very difficult for us to simulate in training, because gone are the days when we could use [F-15 Eagles] or [F-16 Fighting Falcons] or [F/A-18 Super Hornets] to simulate things like a MiG-29 or Su-27,” Robinson said.
The training issue is compounded by years of budget cuts, alongside the “manpower, supply chains and everything that goes with it,” he said.
Adjusting Flight-Hour Standards
For decades, the Air Force designated an advanced pilot as having 500 or more hours in the cockpit. That standard meant that “you’ve seen enough things to where you can be mature enough to make decisions under pressure,” Holmes said.
But over the last three years, the service realized it needed to adjust that standard. Pilots were able to attain many flight hours just by conducting overwatch in Iraq or Afghanistan, simply flying in circles, Holmes explained.
“From that, you’re not seeing all that you need to see,” he said, referring to specialized training needed against a skilled adversary.
“The criteria an Air Force pilot must meet to be considered experienced varies by aircraft,” said ACC spokeswoman Alexi Worley in an email Wednesday. “That said, around 2019, similar changes were made to each Air Force fighter aircraft’s specific experienced pilot criteria, replacing the 500 flight-hour standard.”
Now, the service weighs real-world events or training during an exercise more heavily.
Another change included using a “4-Ship Flight Lead Certification and a commensurate number of sorties, based on experience, in the[ir] assigned aircraft,” Worley said.
Holmes said future red air training may include going up against both an AI and the contracted companies.
Proving the Concept
Robinson’s vision to bring artificial intelligence into simulated dogfighting began on the ground: In 2015, he met virtual reality specialists Glenn Snyder and Nick Bicanic, who worked extensively in pairing AI with car racing. They both now work at Red 6.
Snyder “had taken two real race cars, put them on two separate racetracks at the same time with real race car drivers in them,” Robinson said. Wearing virtual reality headsets, they raced in the virtual world, but they were still behind the steering wheel in the real world, he explained.
Robinson wanted to know whether a similar feat would be possible with fighter jets.
“With virtual reality, we disappear into an entirely virtual world, and we don’t see the surroundings around us. Augmented is a more nuanced problem to solve, because we seek to place synthetic entities into the real world around us. We are just overlaying digital images into the real world,” he said.
Though they encountered many challenges, Robinson, Bicanic and Snyder believe the technology is ready.
Depending on the need, the AI could play its traditional red air role or act as a wingman to the pilot, Robinson said. It could even have applications for student pilots, Holmes said.
“We think it has applications starting from the very earliest part of training,” Holmes said, referring to undergraduate pilot training. Robinson said pilots also could practice refueling their jets via refueling boom from a tanker aircraft before they have their first tanker sortie.
Additional applications someday could include partners and allies that come to conduct large-scale training exercises in the U.S., such as Red Flag.
There is no official program of record to incorporate Red 6’s technology into the service’s everyday training. Before it can receive significant budget backing, it must prove its potential, said Robert Winkler, who serves as a staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Augmented reality has been incorporated into the military’s day-to-day activities over the years, but the fast-paced training environment is a much larger undertaking, Winkler said during a Mitchell Institute event Tuesday. Robinson and Holmes were also part of the event with reporters.
“[You’re] going to have to prove [it] to folks as far as latency as far as the ability to make a difference in training,” Winkler said. “It is something that is easily explained, [but] based on our current culture that we have, we just have to go do it.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
16 Mar 21. HMAS Sydney to conduct AEGIS weapons system trials in US. The Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney has set sail to conduct combat systems sea qualification trials in the US. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart-class guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney has set sail to conduct combat systems sea qualification trials.
The ship departed its home port at Fleet Base East with a full crew for its deployment to the US.
Before departing, the ship’s company voluntarily received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
The AEGIS weapons system test is an important and final milestone to be completed prior to HMAS Sydney’s introduction into service.
The trials will confirm the destroyer’s availability for operational deployments.
Fleet commander rear admiral Mark Hammond said it also marks ‘the culmination of more than a decade of work by the Australian Shipbuilding Industry to deliver this war-fighting capability to navy’.
Constructed in Australia by the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance, Sydney is the last of the three Hobart-class guided missile destroyers.
The Hobart-class vessels are based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, which is in service with the Spanish Navy.
The AWD Alliance includes ASC, Raytheon Australia, Navantia Australia, and the Australian Department of Defence. (Source: naval-technology.com)
15 Mar 21. Massive, Army-led NATO exercise Defender Europe kicks off. One of the largest U.S.-Army led military exercises in decades has kicked off and will run until June, with 28,000 total troops from 27 nations taking part. Defender Europe 2021 will include “nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas” in a dozen countries.
The exercise is the deployment of a division-size force from the United States to Europe, pulling equipment from Army prepositioned stocks, then moving personnel and equipment across the theater to multiple training areas.
Last year’s exercise was planned to be the largest NATO exercise in Europe in 25 years but had to be scaled back due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, U.S. and allied forces managed to conduct some of the planned drills and joint exercises.
This year’s wider-ranging exercise will include COVID restrictions and monitoring but will span the Balkans and the Black Sea region and use key ground and maritime routes that bridge Europe, Asia and Africa, according to a U.S. Army Europe and Africa statement.
“While we are closely monitoring the COVID situation, we’ve proven we have the capability to train safely despite the pandemic. No matter what, our nations count on our forces being ready to defend the peace,” said Gen. Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general.
The multi-faceted, months-long exercise provides the United States and allies a showcase event for crisis response, Cavoli said.
The U.S. Air Force and Navy will see an increased role in this previously largely Army affair. Planners are incorporating “new or high-end capabilities,” which include air and missile defense assets, capabilities from the Army’s Security Force Assistance Brigades and V Corps, which was recently reactivated.
Of the 28,000 total participants, an estimated 2,100 are coming from the Army National Guard and another 800 from the Army Reserve.
Equipment and personnel begin flowing this month from the United States to Europe. Next month units will draw from prepositioned stocks of gear in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
Defender Europe 21 acts as an overarching, umbrella-like operation that includes several exercises that run from early May to June, including:
- Swift Response — in early May, includes airborne operations in Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania with more than 7,000 troops from 11 countries.
- Immediate Response — mid-May to early June, has more than 5,000 troops from eight countries in 31 training areas in a dozen countries running live-fire training and a joint over-the-shore logistics operation.
- Command Post Exercise — in June, will see 2,000 troops running a headquarters commanding multinational land forces in joint and combined training environments, all while running real-world operations in 14 countries on two continents, sharing mission command, mutual sustainment and mission partner environment.
There are two large-scale training events also running under Defender-Europe 21 this year:
- African Lion — mid-May to mid-June, is the U.S. Africa Command annual training event using 5,000 troops from 24 nations primarily in Morocco, running large-scale live fire, medical readiness, air, maritime and forward command post training exercises.
- Steadfast Defender — mid-May to early June, are new NATO exercises working transatlantic reinforcement, demonstrating NATO’s rapid full-scale threat response capabilities. (Source: Army Times)
16 Mar 21. Two Royal Australian Navy ships to take part in international exercise, acting Defence Minister confirms. Two Royal Australian Navy ships will take part in a multilateral naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, acting Defence Minister Marise Payne confirmed on Sunday.
HMA Ships Anzac (III) and Sirius are undertaking a two-month deployment, in which they will partake in French-led Exercise La Perouse in the north-east Indian Ocean.
Minister Payne confirmed that this was part of Australia and the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to ongoing international arrangements.
“We are strongly committed to our vital work with regional partners to address shared challenges, including our region’s maritime security,” Minister Payne said.
“Regular cooperation with our partners and neighbours is critical for maintaining a peaceful, inclusive, sovereign and resilient Indo-Pacific region, where the rights of all states are respected.”
RAN Commander Brendan Horn, Commander of the task group, outlined that Exercise La Perouse was a chance for HMA Ships Anzac (III) and Sirius to build on their operational capabilities working alongside Australia’s allies.
“I am extremely proud of our ability to safely deploy and maintain operational readiness, while working within COVID-19 safe conditions,” CMDR Horn noted.
“Importantly, we acknowledge the support of our families and friends, who remain our anchor in achieving this important mission.” (Source: Defence Connect)
13 Mar 21. For first time, France and Cyprus join Israel’s Noble Dina naval drill. France and Cyprus for the first time have joined the Israeli Navy-led Noble Dina naval exercise, which takes place annually but was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The exercise series, which this year took place March 7-12 in waters west of Cyprus, previously included counterterrorism scenarios and drills to protect ports. This year, as in the past, ships practiced anti-submarine procedures. The navies also conducted search-and-rescue scenarios as well as a drill simulating battle between ships, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Israel sent a submarine and the INS Romach, a Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boat housing anti-submarine systems. In total, Greece, France, Cyprus and Israel sent six ships, including submarines.
Israel recently took delivery of the Sa’ar 6 warship to improve the country’s defenses of its exclusive economic zone, but the vessel was not in attendance because it is still being outfitted. The last year saw tension between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as increased strain between Israel and Iran after an Israeli-owned ship was attacked near the Gulf of Oman. Israel accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of attaching an explosive device to the cargo vessel Helios Ray on Feb. 25 as it traveled from Saudi Arabia to Singapore. Iran has denied the allegation.
In addition, more than 1,000 tons of tar are estimated to have washed onto Israel’s Mediterranean coastline last month, causing extensive environmental damage and forcing the closure of beaches to the public. Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority called the incident one of Israel’s worst environmental disasters, with the clean-up expected to take months. On March 3, the Environmental Protection Ministry identified the ship it believed was responsible for the Feb. 1 oil spill as the the Panama-flagged, formerly Libyan-owned tanker named Emerald.
Israel’s environmental protection minister has described the oil spill as an intentional attack by Iran. However, the Israel Defense Forces would not comment on the ongoing investigation, and Iranian officials have not publicly acknowledged the allegation.
Noble Dina is designed to strengthen cooperation among participating navies and enrich their repository of operational knowledge, Israel says. Lt. Cmdr. Amichai Rachamim, head of exercises for the Israeli Navy, emphasized the importance of having surface vessels as well as helicopters and air force assets from participants.
“It is focused not only on surface exercises but also multi-threat exercise of air and underwater and surface threats,” he said. “The main task is to combine and cooperate multinationally against the threats and practice our forces and ships in answering these threats and building the cooperation against these threats.
“The Cyprus and Hellenic navies that are close to us are our neighbors at sea. It is important to practice with them as well as with the French and U.S. Navy, which act in the Mediterranean.”
Israel recently announced that its naval personnel and most of its armed forces have been vaccinated against COVID-19, a development that helped enable the exercise this year.
Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed a deal to build a gas pipeline in the East Mediterranean last year, and a new subsea cable is also undergoing construction. The naval officer would not say if defending these future energy assets was a particular part of this drill. “When we talk about national assets, whether Israel or Cyprus, [we] can see the importance or main mission of the navies is to defend national assets, defending those in the EEZ, and of course for us that is something that is important,” he said.
Israel recently improved diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, among other regional countries, but neither the UAE nor Egypt participated this year in the naval drill. Rachamim said Israel sees those nations as “partners, and we see opportunities to act with them. I believe we will see [their future participation], but not in this one this year. We believe in the future we will see more cooperation with more countries.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Mar 21. On Saturday ARC Endurance disembarked 1st Combat Aviation Brigade helicopters and vehicles in the Port of Dunkirk for ATLANTIC RESOLVE 7. The ARC Endurance US Strategic Sealift vessel, carrying the US Army 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, equipment, helicopters, and vehicles, arrived at the Port of Dunkirk in France on Saturday 06 March 2021 in support of the ATLANTIC RESOLVE 7 deployment and the latest Opération MOUSQUETAIRE iteration.
This is the seventh ATLANTIC RESOLVE aviation rotation and the second rotation for 1 ID CAB. The unit is bringing approximately 1,800 personnel, 50 UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawks, 10 CH-47 Chinooks, 20 AH-64 Apaches and 1,800 wheeled vehicles and pieces of equipment to northern Europe and the Balkans Peninsula.
According to official US sources: “This ATLANTIC RESOLVE rotation in conjunction with Operation MOUSQUETAIRE at the port of Dunkirk and the Calais Airport offers a unique opportunity for the US military and French allies. An operation of this scale is a truly historic event and offers the ability to demonstrate a shared bi-lateral ability to work side-by-side to receive US Army equipment, stage it, and move it efficiently and safely.” (Source: joint-forces.com)
12 Mar 21. KAI to leverage VR/AR technologies to enter the LVC military training market. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) plans to enter the Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) integrated training system market this year, leveraging its know-how in aircraft and simulators manufacturing, the Sacheon-based company announced on 11 March.
LVC training systems offer the opportunity for more complex, immersive, and realistic training scenarios, while limiting the risk to human life and optimising the time spent in the actual operational platform.
In its announcement, KAI recognised the potential of integrating LVC training systems with virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) features, which can add more realism to the training and are often cost effective. The company said it seeks to leverage its know-how in aircraft manufacturing and simulation training systems to secure an advantage in the LVC business by integrating wargame constructive simulation technology with existing aircraft and simulator development capabilities.
”We plan to contribute to creating a more efficient and strong military through the development of customised LVC for the military in the future,” an unnamed KAI official was quoted as saying.
The announcement comes as the South Korean military is preparing for the introduction of LVC training as part of its ‘smart defence’ innovation projects.
The Ministry of National Defense in Seoul announced in its 2020 Defense White Paper that it plans to establish a synthetic LVC training environment. In this context, the army, navy, and air force plan to develop their own constructive training programmes. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Mar 21. Australia’s third Hobart-class destroyer sets off for combat trials. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) third Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD) has set off for its combat systems trials, which will be conducted with the US Navy (USN).
The vessel, HMAS Sydney (42), departed home port at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, on 11 March for waters off the US west coast, where the trials will be conducted. “These tests are a crucial milestone in order for Sydney to be declared available for operational deployments,” reads a statement from Australia’s Department of Defence on the same day.
Sydney, which was commissioned in May 2020, is the final vessel in a three-ship programme to replace Australia’s Adelaide-class (US Oliver Hazard Perry design) guided-missile frigates. The first vessel, HMAS Hobart (39), was commissioned in September 2017, while the second warship, HMAS Brisbane (41), was inducted in October 2018.
The class has an overall length of 146.7 m, an overall beam of 18.6 m, and a hull draught of 4.9 m. It is powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas-turbine and two Caterpillar diesel engines in a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) configuration, and can attain a top speed of 28 kt, with a standard range of 5,000 n miles at 18 kts.
The warship incorporates the Aegis combat system, and its suite of sensors includes the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon AN/SPY 1D(V) phased-array radar and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar.
The AWD’s weapons include a 48-cell MK 41 vertical launching system (VLS) that can fire Standard Missile-2 medium-range Block IIIA (SM-2MR Block IIIA), and SM-2MR Block IIIB long-range surface-to-air missiles at hostile aerial threats. This VLS can also launch the Raytheon RIM-162B Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM). (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. USAF and JGSDF members conduct exercise Airborne 21. The US Air Force (USAF) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) have participated in exercise Airborne 21 at Yokota Air Base.
The US Air Force (USAF) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) have participated in exercise Airborne 21 at Yokota Air Base.
The exercise saw the participation of 12 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the USAF 36th Airlift Squadron (AS) and 500 members from JGSDF 1st Airborne Brigade. 374th Airlift Wing supported the JGSDF.
USAF 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron operations officer major David Perkins said: “This was not an overnight effort; to generate more than 80% of Yokota’s C-130J fleet required months of extensively planned logistics for the aircraft to be available, as well as planning and orchestration of the aircraft parking plan, and proper resourcing of aircraft configurations in order to make the mission happen.”
The members conducted static-line personnel jump and cargo drop of 134 containment delivery system (CDS) bundles.
It also involved an air assault at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji drop zone.
The 36th Airlift Squadron (AS) loadmasters ensured the cargo was secured for airdrop.
USAF 36th AS pilot and Airborne 21 mission commander captain Christopher Espinosa said: “The main purpose of this operation was to demonstrate the JGSDF’s capability to employ airborne insertion anywhere in the country of Japan.
“It was a great training opportunity to take lessons learned and how we can advance in our training in the future and also it was an effective example of a deterrent to some of our peer adversaries.”
Last month, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) Air Defense Division and the US European Command (USEUCOM) concluded exercise Juniper Falcon 2021.
11 Mar 21. US Navy’s EODMU 8 participates in Exercise Poseidon 21 in Romania. The US Navy has announced that explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit (EODMU) 8 have carried out EOD and mine counter measure (MCM) operations.
The US Navy has announced that explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit (EODMU) 8 have carried out EOD and mine counter measure (MCM) operations.
The MCM operations have been conducted with Romanian EOD and Turkish unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) units as part of Exercise Poseidon 21 conducted in Romania on 5 March.
The exercises, held in the Black Sea, were organised by the Romanian Naval Forces (FNR).
Poseidon 21 is part of Nato’s ‘Program of Combined Joint Enhanced Training’, which is aimed at enhancing security between nations.
Anti-terrorism force protection training and Romanian Marine Force integration are the other scenarios the exercise is focussing on.
The exercise witnessed the joint forces conducting ten SCUBA dives for 87 minutes of bottom time to a maximum depth of 30ft² of water.
US Navy said in a statement: “Participation in Exercise Poseidon 21 strengthened enduring Nato EOD partnerships while enhancing MCM tactics, techniques, and procedures.
“It also enabled greater understanding of allied underwater MCM technology and demonstrated that multinational forces are engaged, postured, and ready to assure, deter, and defend in the Black Sea.”
US Sixth Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, frequently with allied and interagency partners. It is headquartered in Naples, Italy. (Source: naval-technology.com)
10 Mar 21. Patrol Squadron VP-46 participates in joint air and maritime operations. The Patrol Squadron VP-46, also known as the Grey Knights, participated in the first joint air and maritime training mission in the Black Sea.
The Patrol Squadron VP-46, also known as the Grey Knights, participated in the first joint air and maritime training mission in the Black Sea.
The VP-46 was operated alongside the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Porter, the TCG Orucreis and TCG Turgutreis Turkish frigates, as well as two Turkish F-16 fighters in the air and maritime training mission.
The US Navy has executed the joint air and maritime training mission with Turkish naval forces.
These operations with naval forces of Turkey are aimed at increasing the maritime cooperation with its Nato partners.
Task Force 67 deputy commander James Imlah said: “Opportunities to operate with US and Nato forces in the Black Sea not only supports the monitoring of the international maritime domain but also improve integrations across multiple navies.
“This makes us a more prepared and effective combined fighting force.”
Since the time USS Donald Cook and the USS Porter entered the Black Sea in January, the VP-46 provided direct support to their operations.
CTG-67.1 Tactical Operations Officer and Patrol Plane Commander lieutenant commander Stokes said: “We assisted in the exercise of freedom of navigation of both international airspace and water, and provided extended range surveillance of surface and sub-surface ships in the operational area.”
The VP-46, alongside the DDG destroyers, joined Turkish Nato allies for an ‘integrated surface, air, and subsurface warfare exercise’.
This exercise strengthens US security partnership with Turkey in and around the surrounding maritime environment of the Black Sea.
The VP-46 is currently forward deployed to the Sixth Fleet area of operations in the US. It is assigned to Task Force 67 Commander and is responsible for ‘tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons’ across Europe and Africa. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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