U.S. Navy Surface Ships Enter Barents Sea for First Time Since Mid-1980s

Four U.S. Navy ships and a Royal Navy ship entered the Barents Sea, working together to conduct maritime security operations in the challenging environmental conditions above the Arctic Circle, on May 4.

This is the first time the U.S. Navy surface ships are operating in the Barents since the mid-1980s.

Three U.S. Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyers – USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) – which are supported by the Supply-class fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), were joined by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Kent (F 78) to “assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies”.

“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,” said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “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. According to a statement from U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, the notification was made in an effort to avoid misperceptions, reduce risk, and prevent inadvertent escalation.

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).

U.S. Navy Ships in North Atlantic
NORTH ATLANTIC (April 28, 2020) – The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Porter (DDG 78) conduct a connected replenishment with the USNS SUPPLY (T-AOE 6) to receive fuel and stores, April 28, 2020. (Photo by Royal Navy Photograher Dan Rosenbaum/Released)

U.S. Forward Deployed Naval Forces – Europe ships have been operating with partner nations throughout European seas over the last month. Porter conducted a PASSEX with Romania in the Black Sea, April 13. Following her departure from the Black Sea, Porter met with Supply and Roosevelt to work with the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean and with the French Navy in the Atlantic, April 27. Prior to joining the SAG, Donald Cook operated in the Baltic Sea, sailing separately with the Lithuanian Navy and the German Navy.

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