PHOTO: Navy, Air Force Exercise in Black Sea

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron takes off from Aviano Air Base, Italy, Aug. 2, 2020. F-16s from the 510th FS flew integrated training missions alongside the USS Porter in the Black Sea which were designed to train U.S. forces to operate while executing multi-domain operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rebeccah Woodrow)

The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force conducted a joint training mission in international waters and airspace within the Black Sea, on August 2.

The mission involved the Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), a P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Patrol Squadron VP-47, four U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Aerial Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, and an MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland.

The training mission occurred in international waters and airspace within the Black Sea and was designed to train U.S. forces to integrate, operate and communicate while executing surface and air operations.

“With over 90 percent of the global economy and digital communication traveling via the world’s oceans, protecting the maritime domain has never been more important,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “Integrating with U.S. Air Force Europe during this training mission enabled us to conduct realistic and relevant training to reinforce U.S. resolve at sea in the Black Sea region.”

Participating units conducted training scenarios that included tactical maneuvering and communications.

“The purpose of this training event was to exercise command and control in a joint training environment with our U.S. Air Force brothers and sisters to increase our tactical proficiency, and Porter’s crew did just that,” said Cmdr. Craig Trent, Porter’s commanding officer. “This training enabled us to continue to build on our combined capability to quickly and effectively respond to any threats in the complex maritime environment.”

Porter and the P-8A Poseidon are currently operating in the Black Sea following participation in the 20th iteration of Exercise Sea Breeze. Exercise Sea Breeze is an annual, multinational maritime exercise co-led by the U.S. and Ukraine and designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security in the Black Sea.

Joint training missions like this are vital to the readiness of U.S. military forces and demonstrate our capability to integrate platforms across multiple domains.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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