Naval forces from France, Italy and the U.S. sailed together while conducting naval training in the Mediterranean Sea this month.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) integrated with the French carrier Charles de Gaulle’s (R 91) Task Force 473 and Italian carrier Cavour (C-550) strike groups, highlighting the strength of the maritime partnerships among the three nations.
Elements of the French, Italian, and U.S. maritime forces routinely operate together, fostering a cooperative approach toward regional security and stability. This training opportunity brings together three strategic allies to strengthen interoperability and to enhance high-end cooperative operations in U.S. Sixth Fleet.
The HSTCSG completed participation in the NATO-led activity Neptune Strike 22, 4 February 2022. This activity involved the handover of the HSTCSG to NATO command and control, highlighting the natural evolution of NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the Alliance.
The Italian aircraft carrier Cavour and elements of its associated carrier strike group also participated in Neptune Strike 22, strengthening their maritime partnership with both the U.S. and NATO. This partnership has shone through in other activities in recent months as well, as SIXTHFLT units participated in Italy’s Mare Aperto exercise in October 2021 and as American and Italian naval units continue to operate alongside one another bilaterally and through the NATO alliance on a routine basis.
The Charles de Gaulle CSG departed Toulon, France, to begin its 14th deployment in the Mediterranean, 1 February. This deployment, named Clemenceau 22, brings together a variety of allied resources, including the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71).
“Sailing alongside our NATO allies is a primary objective of our Clemenceau 22 deployment,” said Rear Adm. Christophe Cluzel, commander, Task Force 473. “Events like this enhance our interoperability and strengthen the exchanges with our NATO partners, essential to Europe security in this strategic area.”
The convergence of three allied aircraft carrier strike groups strengthens maritime integration by allowing naval crews and aircraft to operate in relatively close water and airspace. Operating together like this allows different nations and navies to improve their interoperability and their capacity to work as a cohesive team in defense of national and allied interests.
Elements of the strike group include the staff of Carrier Strike Group 8; flagship USS Harry S. Truman; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28, which include: USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107); the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof-Nansen class frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) deployed as part of the Cooperative Deployment Program; and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56). USS Cole (DDG 67) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) are also part of the carrier strike group and currently supporting U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Operations. The strike group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa.