The UK and US sent four ships, a submarine and a maritime patrol aircraft to the Arctic Circle for an anti-submarine warfare exercise.
For the exercise, Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Porter, fast combat support ship USNS Supply, were joined by the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent.
“We are working with our partners to enhance our combined capabilities as we conduct maritime security operations and training in the Arctic region,” said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander U.S. 6th Fleet, in a news release.
“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.”
Additionally, a US submarine, as well as a P8-A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from Patrol Squadron 4 supported the training. This exercise is designed, say the US Navy, to reinforce the combined training that the nations received last month while participating in the UK’s Submarine Command Course (SMCC).
Commander Matt Sykes, the Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said in a Royal Navy statement:
“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.”
According to a US Navy release:
“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.”