The United States recently teamed up with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to participate in training exercises in the Indian Ocean. The two-day session saw them practising bilateral operations, and it was the first time the U.S. Navy’s USS Ronald Reagan teamed up with the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth.
A bilateral operation
Both aircraft carriers were joined by the USS Iwo Jima and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen for the training exercises, which occurred in the Gulf of Aden, between Yemen, Somalia, and Somaliland. The training was led by the Iwo Jima and involved ships in the Navy’s amphibious group.
According to a press release, the purpose of the exercise was to “enhance U.K., Dutch and U.S. maritime interoperability and demonstrate naval integration through a series of training scenarios.” During the training, focus was placed on anti-surface, anti-air, and anti-submarine warfare tactics.
“The aircraft carrier is the ultimate expression of global maritime power,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said. “Queen Elizabeth, Ronald Reagan and Iwo Jima symbolize the might of the U.S. and U.K. partnership, and the ease with which our naval and air forces can combine here in the Gulf of Aden, or anywhere in the world.”
Crews participated in several scenarios, where they practiced precision maneuvering, defending against simulated air and submarine threats, and hunting simulated enemy submarines. They also conducted long-range maritime strikes against simulated enemy combatants.
Speaking about the training, Rear Admiral Will Pennington, commanded of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and Task Force 50, said, “Our team was proud to operate alongside the U.K. Carrier Strike Group during this unique opportunity to hone the full scope of our military capabilities.
“By operating together at sea, we deepen our coalition partnerships and extend our global reach throughout the region’s critical waterways,” he concluded.
It was the second time the Iwo Jima operated alongside the Queen Elizabeth. In May 2021, the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group teamed up with the Queen Elizabeth‘s Strike Group for training exercises off the coast of Scotland.
“The Iwo Jima ARG remains in a high state of readiness to support our partners and allies as an effective amphibious force,” said Captain Darren Nelson, commodore, Amphibious Squadron Four. “Operating with the Ronald Reagan and U.K. carrier strike groups allows us to better address common threats to regional security.”
Operations at sea
The training session occurred during the USS Ronald Reagan‘s deployment in the Middle East, where it is aiding with the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
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The HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the middle of its maiden operational tour, which will see her travel 26,000 nautical miles over a seven-and-a-half month span. The carrier departed from Portsmouth, England, in late May 2021 and will make stops in such countries as Japan, Korea, and Singapore.