Home Europe US shares photos of three NATO aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean

US shares photos of three NATO aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean

Neptune Strike three carriers in the Mediterranean Sea
From right to left, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (C 550) and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) transit the Mediterranean Sea in formation, Feb. 6, 2022. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has shared first photos of a naval drill that started in the Mediterranean Sea last week and gathered aircraft carriers from three NATO nations for maneuvers.

Although the exercise had been planned well in advance of the kick-off, it was announced two weeks ago and was widely interpreted as a message to Russia, which has an amphibious assault task group operating in the same sea.

The imagery shared by the US Navy, which is the official host and organizer of exercise Neptune Strike, features naval forces from France, Italy and the US sailing together while conducting naval training in the Mediterranean Sea, February 6 and 7.

US Navy’s Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) integrated with the French carrier Charles de Gaulle’s (R 91) Task Force 473 and Italian carrier Cavour (C-550) strike groups.

“The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has had the extraordinary chance to work with some of the finest maritime operators in the region and have been looking forward to training with our Italian and French allies,” said Rear Adm. Curt Renshaw, commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight. “The capabilities of a US aircraft carrier strike group are made stronger by operating alongside our allies and partners; and adding the French and Italian carrier teams provides an exciting chance to strengthen our interoperability together.”

For the duration of Neptune Strike 22, the US carrier strike group was put under NATO command and control, highlighting the natural evolution of NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the alliance.

Photo: US Navy

The Italian aircraft carrier Cavour and elements of its associated carrier strike group also participated in Neptune Strike 22, strengthening their maritime partnership with both the US and NATO.

“It has been a real pleasure to operate alongside some of our most valued partners in order to collectively enhance our capabilities, demonstrate the strength of our alliance and increase the interoperability with our partners,” said Rear Admiral Vincenzo Montanaro, the Commander of the Italian Second Naval Division and Commander of the Italian carrier strike group.

“There are few nations that are able to operate carrier strike groups and this was a great opportunity to confirm the high level of integration.”

The Charles de Gaulle CSG departed Toulon, France, to begin its 14th deployment in the Mediterranean, Feb. 1. This deployment, named Clemenceau 22, brings together a variety of allied resources, including the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71).

“Sailing alongside our NATO allies is a primary objective of our Clemenceau 22 deployment,” said Rear Adm. Christophe Cluzel, commander, Task Force 473. “Events like this enhance our interoperability and strengthen the exchanges with our NATO partners, essential to Europe security in this strategic area.”

The US 6th Fleet said the convergence of three allied aircraft carrier strike groups strengthened maritime integration by allowing naval crews and aircraft to operate in relatively close water and airspace.