US, French navies meet up in North Arabian Sea for interoperability drill

The US Navy’s USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group (CSG) and the French Navy conducted a bilateral, interoperability exercise in the North Arabian Sea from April 25 to 26.

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE), guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and FS Forbin (D620), operating under national tasking, participated in formation steaming, an air defense exercise and a surface gunnery exercise.

“The French have outstanding naval capabilities,” said Capt. Edward Crossman, commanding officer of San Jacinto.

“We look forward to any chance to work with them as an opportunity to learn and fine-tune our tactics and procedures. It’s an absolute win for San Jacinto’s “gunslingers” to operate with our partners in Forbin. This training makes us stronger as an allied force, dedicated to maintaining regional stability and sustaining freedom of the seas.”

Earlier this year, IKE and the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) and its escorts participated in cross-deck interoperability exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.

The three ships have been at sea for extended periods. As a precautionary measure against the global pandemic coronavirus, no cross-deck of personnel between the ships occurred during the exercise.

IKE Strike Group is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations conducting maritime security operations in international waters alongside our allies and partners.

The ships and aircraft of IKE strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Paul Schlise and the CSG 10 staff, include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), commanded by Capt. Kyle Higgins; the eight squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, commanded by Capt. Trevor Estes, and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, commanded by Capt. William Shafley.

Photo: Photo: US Navy