The UK Royal Navy Type 23 Duke class frigate HMS Kent (F78) has entered the icy Barents Sea this weekend conducting operations alongside the U.S. Navy, the service announced.
“The Royal Navy warship continues working with ships from the U.S. Navy to demonstrate our commitment to freedom of navigation in the challenging conditions above the Arctic Circle”, said an RN statement.
The statement said that this was the first opportunity for many of the sailors serving on HMS Kent to enter the Arctic Circle, where there is constant daylight amid the freezing temperatures.
HMS Kent’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Paul White, said: “The Royal Navy is committed to maintaining long-term stability within the high north. HMS Kent, working with US allies, has demonstrated our commitment to global security and freedom of navigation while operating in a multi-national task group in an open and transparent manner.”
HMS Kent has experienced the full spectrum of challenging conditions in the past year, having operated in the high temperatures of the Gulf last year before taking up her tasking in the north Atlantic and high north.
The frigate is operating with four U.S. Navy ships in the Barents Sea. This is the first time the U.S. Navy surface ships are operating in the Barents since the mid-1980s.
The U.S. Navy vessels included three U.S. Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyers – USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) – and the Supply-class fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).
Porter, Donald Cook, and Kent recently completed a bilateral naval anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in the Norwegian Sea. This exercise reinforced the combined training that the nations received last month while participating in the U.K’s Submarine Command Course (SMCC).