Armed Conflicts
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Ionian Sea: The USS Gerald Ford and the French frigate Lorraine in the Strait of Messina

US-Greece military relations have reached the highest level of bilateral cooperation. In this context, we recall the recent training flights in a high-altitude mountainous environment combined with day and night air operations and rappel training in a separate co-training of the Armed Forces of both countries.

Several NATO units are sailing in the area, with some of them heading towards the Strait of Messina.


The aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78) is present in the area with its Carrier Strike Group.

Two Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport expeditionary units, USNS Carson City (JHSV-7/T-EPF-7) and USNS Yuma (T-EPF-8) , are also in the area heading west.

The replenishment ship USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO-195) is also navigating in the area, possibly bound for Augusta.

Further south, the expeditionary mobile base (ESB) USS Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB-4), Lewis B. Puller class, is headed for the Western Mediterranean, passing south of Sicily.

An unidentified French unit, possibly the frigate FS Lorraine (D 657) , which returned to the Mediterranean via Suez two days ago, is also sailing in the area. It will soon pass through the Strait of Messina.

US-Greece military relations have culminated at the highest level of bilateral cooperation with a barrage of co-training, exchange of expertise and maintenance and enhancement of combat capability

As a reminder, from Monday 24 to Tuesday 25 July 2023, as part of the broader planning of the General Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces (GAF) in terms of international cooperation, a co-training exercise was conducted between the Hellenic Armed Forces (HAF) and the USS GERALD R. FORD (GRF) of the United States.

It is the largest US aircraft carrier, 337 meters long, 76 meters high, with 25 decks and can accommodate a total crew of 4539 people!

The "USS Gerald R. Ford" comes for the first time to Greece and the Mediterranean in general as it replaced the aircraft carrier "USS George H.W. Bush", which had been closed for a year in the Mediterranean, aiming to strengthen the NATO alliance against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The training involved the US carrier's aircraft and escort ships, and was deployed in an area southwest of the Peloponnese, as part of Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG-12), to which the GRF is attached, in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.

The Armed forces participated with personnel and assets from the Navy and Air Force, as well as the newly formed Special Warfare Command (SSC) of the General Staff, as follows:

The Frigate frigate AEGEAN with her organic Helicopter (H/C) S-70B as part of her participation in Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2).


The submarine  KATSONIS.

4 F-16 fighter jets and 2 MIRAGE 2000-5 fighter jets.

1 Unorthodox Warfare Group (UWG) of the Naval Special Operations Department (NSE) of the Naval Special Operations Division of the Hellenic Air Force.

The co-training took place in the framework of the bilateral agreement on mutual defence cooperation between Greece and the United States (MDCA), contributing to the promotion of the level of operational readiness, combat capability and cooperation of the participants in a bilateral and inter-allied framework.

As Ankara continues to play a double-board game between Washington and Moscow, and while bringing China into the game, Greece is emerging as the most stable and capable ally in the wider Southeastern Mediterranean region.


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