Units and personnel from U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet joined their Italian counterparts and other Allied navies in the Italian-led exercise Mare Aperto 22-1/Italian Minex 22 in the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, May 15, 2022.
U.S. forces participating in the exercise include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), aircraft assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman’s (CVN 75) Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO 203), U.S. Transportation Command-charter commercial tanker motor vessel Maersk Peary, and U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Commander, Task Force 67.
Mare Aperto 22-1 is a joint and combined high-end exercise led and executed by the Italian Navy. The aim of the exercise, conducted in a realistic and complex scenario, is to plan, conduct and test the combat readiness of the participating forces in a three-dimensional environment.
In the coming weeks, French, Italian, Spanish and U.S. maritime forces, as well as the multinational forces of NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMG), will train together to enhance interoperability and proficiency among the Allies.
“The entire crew is looking forward to participating in exercise Mare Aperto,” said Cmdr. James Hagerty, Bainbridge’s commanding officer. “This exercise presents an excellent opportunity to participate in joint and combined high end training with our NATO Allies.”
This training – consisting of amphibious operations, mine counter-measure operations and tactical exercises, will feature multi-domain operations, made possible by units like the P-8A Poseidon.
P-8As will find, track, and communicate surface contacts to Allied units during the exercise. This key information sharing between NATO Allies builds an accurate picture of the maritime domain, enhancing commanders’ awareness of the area of operations and enabling a faster and more informed decision-making process.
Surface combatants like Bainbridge will participate in multiple unique serials in support of the overall exercise, honing their skills through a variety of warfighting scenarios across multiple domains, while the Maersk Peary and USNS Laramie will provide refueling and sustainment capability to Allied ships at sea.
Maersk Peary can operate as a consolidation (CONSOL) tanker to replenish other logistics ships (like Laramie) while providing bulk capabilities that increase the endurance of the Combat Logistics Fleet (CLF). Peary’s unique mission set enhances the sustainability and operability of U.S. and Allied units in theater. In February, the ship conducted fuel offload operations in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2022 near the South Pole, underscoring the platform’s geographic and mission set diversity.
The strategic relationship between the U.S. and NATO Allies has been forged over the past seven decades and provides the U.S. strategic access, critical to meet NATO Article 5 commitments. This relationship is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision, and is demonstrated through combined operations and multilateral exercises like Mare Aperto.