Under the direction of the North American aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Air Forces of the United States Navy and the Kingdom of Morocco conducted the Lightning Handshake exercise, which took place on March 3rd, 4th and 5th in Atlantic waters opposite the Atlantic coast from Sidi Ifni, north of the Canary Islands.
For days on the aircraft tracking websites flights from aircraft of the United States Navy or the US Navy arriving from a point in the middle of the ocean north of the Canary Islands in Rota (Cdiz) or vice versa. On March 3, the press office of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group or the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) or the Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) reported that it was conducting the Lightning Handshake exercise bilaterally with Moroccan armed forces, led by the Frigate Tarik Ben Ziyad (F-613) of the Royal Moroccan Navy (RAM).
This exercise improves interoperability between the U.S. Navy and RAM in air and sea warfare, in areas such as surface war or anti-surface war or (ASuW), anti-submarine or anti-submarine warfare (ASW), air defense and / or assault warfare., combined logistical support, maritime interdiction operations. A wide range of missions that the modern Moroccan frigate of the SIGMA class (Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach) 10513, a design by the Dutch company Damen, can face.
On behalf of the seafarers assigned to IKE CSG (around 5,000), it is an honor to take part in this historic bilateral maritime exercise. A hallmark of 200 years of enduring partnership with Morocco, said Rear Admiral Scott Robertson, commander of the IKE CSG. “Exercises like Lighting Handshake improve the foundation of our interoperability and continue to support our long-term commitment to local security,” he added. The US Navy ships participating in the Lightning Handshake include CVN 69 and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Mitscher (DDG 57); and USS Porter (DDG 78) assigned to DESRON 60 which is Rota-based.
On the part of Morocco, in addition to the SIGMA frigate mentioned above, the Maritime and Territorial Operations Centers also took part, which also coordinated the contribution of aircraft: an AS565 Panther helicopter (from RAM) and two (pair) aircraft from Kampf F. -16 and F -5 of the Royal Air Force.
The U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in collaboration with allied and interacting partners, to advance the national interests of the United States as well as security and stability in Europe and Africa .
Photo: The frigate Tarik Ben Ziyad sails, followed by the destroyer USS Porter. (US Navy Photo).
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