The Duke-class frigate HMS Kent (F78) takes part in a replenishment-at-sea with Supply-class fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6) whilst on exercise with the U.S. Navy in the Arctic Circle. The exercises have been taking place in the Arctic Circle where, with added wind chill, the temperatures plummeted to a jarring minus 10 degrees centigrade. The U.S. Navy surface force is operating in the Barents Sea for the first time since the Cold War, further expanding its portfolio of Arctic operations by aircraft carriers and surface combatants in the past two years.
Three Spain-based Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers – USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) – along with fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6) and Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent (F 78) are in the Barents Sea, north of Russia, to “assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies,” according to a U.S. Navy news release. These operations follow anti-submarine warfare training and operations by these ships over the course of the past month.
“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we maintain our steady drumbeat of operations across the European theater, while taking prudent measures to protect the health of our force,” Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, the commander of U.S. 6th Fleet, said in the release.
“We remain committed to promoting regional security and stability, while building trust and reinforcing a foundation of Arctic readiness.” The Russian Ministry of Defense was notified of the visit to the Barents Sea on May 1 in a bid to avoid misperceptions and inadvertent escalation.
Late last week, Donald Cook, Porter, Supply and Kent worked with a U.S. submarine and P-8A maritime patrol aircraft to conduct anti-submarine warfare drills above the Arctic Circle, after completing training together as part of the U.K’s Submarine Command Course (SMCC). READ MORE HERE