NATO will conduct a major exercise in the Mediterranean in February, in which at least the American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman will participate. New Russian training plans have also emerged: the Atlantic Target Exercise in Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
USS Harry S Truman in December, along with others, KNM Fridtjof Nansen and USS San Jacinto. (Photo: US Navy)
The Russian Defense Ministry has announced major exercises for this month and next Thursday. One of these exercises will take place 150 miles off the Irish coast, according to the Irish Daily the magazine. The newspaper’s website talks about Russian bombers and naval ships that will “launch missiles”, but the Irish Aviation Authority talks about “artillery maneuvers” in the same article. This is an important difference, because the firing of missiles is clearly different from the order of firing of missiles from cannons. MarineShips.nl asked the magazine for more information.
In any case, the exercises were planned in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Irish Aviation Authority confirmed to the newspaper that they must issue a warning and reroute commercial flights that will pass through the region. The Russians will come to train at the beginning of February.
Such Russian activities in the Irish EEZ would naturally require the deployment of Irish naval and air forces. However, the possibilities are limited, Ireland has nine patrol ships, some in reserve, others in maintenance. The largest of the Irish Navy ships are the Samuel Beckett-class naval patrol ships, which are 90 meters high, armed with a 76 mm cannon. The Irish Air Force has some patrol and transport aircraft (not fighters).
Ireland is not a member of NATO.
On Monday, NATO’s major Neptune Strike maneuver in the Mediterranean begins. Yesterday, the United States announced these 12-day exercises. According to US Secretary of Defense John F. Kirby, these exercises have been on the calendar for a long time, but the NATO website has not shown anything about these exercises after they were announced.
Little is known about Neptune Strike. However, the United States again announced that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman-class Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will participate. Truman doesn’t have to rush into the Mediterranean, the carrier has been there for quite some time. The carriers are never alone and yet Truman sails with many ships. At the beginning of January, these were anyway: the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Cole, USS Gravely, USS Jason Dunham and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto. The Norwegian frigate KNM Fridtjof Nansen (class of the same name) is also part of the American Carrier Strike Group.
The participation of other countries is not yet known.
Not only will the American aircraft carrier train in the Mediterranean, but also the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle will do so. This exercise has been known for a long time. At the beginning of February, CdG will leave Toulon. Several ships will join during the journey across the Mediterranean, including the frigates FREMM Alsace and Normandy. The Horizon Forbin class destroyer is also present. FS Marne will provide fuel, diesel oil and other supplies during the flight.
Deploying in the Mediterranean, the French squadron will be reinforced by USS Ross (Arleigh Burke), SPS Juan de Borbon (Alvaro de Bazan-class), a Greek frigate and a Greek submarine.
Earlier it was announced that Russia will also exercise in the Mediterranean.
Nothing has come out of the Dutch naval ships yet. NATO crew ship Zr.Ms. Rotterdam is currently in the Baltic Sea with the Danish frigate Peter Willimos. This weekend the Rotterdam is located in the Polish port of Gdynia.
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