The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) completed a series of tactical air defense exercises with NATO in the Baltic Sea, Nov. 24. Ross air-intercept controllers gained control of two Italian Eurofighter Typhoon F2000 aircraft assigned to NATO for a series of tactical air defense exercises. Recently, Ross conducted uninterrupted operations in the Artic with logistical support from Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO-203), marking the third time this year that a U.S. destroyer has operated in the Barents Sea. Ross also completed similar exercises with Portuguese Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to NATO in September.
“Operating in the Baltic has provided us with invaluable training opportunities that allow our watch teams the ability to enhance their collective warfighting skills,” said Cmdr. John D. John, commanding officer of Ross. “We rely on these exercises with our NATO Allies to help strengthen our mutual commitment to regional stability in the Baltic.”
The ship’s operations in the Baltic Sea strengthens interoperability among NATO Allies and partners and demonstrates collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve. Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, began its 10th Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol Aug. 29 in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Ross, are based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
The Sixth Fleet is a numbered fleet of the United States Navy operating as part of United States Naval Forces Europe. The Sixth Fleet is headquartered at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. The officially stated mission of the Sixth Fleet in 2011 is that it “conducts the full range of Maritime Operations and Theater Security Cooperation missions, in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties, in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.