• USA DEPLOYS PURPOSE-BUILT SEA BASE TO THE ARABIAN GULF
  • GERMAN-DUTCH AMPHIB FORCES BACK IN ACTION
  • INTEL-GATHERING VESSEL RECEIVES MAJOR WORK
  • TRILATERAL ASW AGREEMENT IN GULF

USA DEPLOYS PURPOSE-BUILT SEA BASE TO THE ARABIAN GULF

USNS Lewis B. Puller, the first Expeditionary Mobile Base built for the US Navy, has embarked on her maiden deployment. It sees her assigned to the 5th Fleet area of operations in the Middle East.

Delivered in 2015, operated by Military Sealift Command and manned by a hybrid crew of civilian mariners and military personnel, all maintenance, repair, and crew rotation will take place in theatre. This aims to maximise the new vessel’s operational effectiveness.

The vessel, which is named after US Marine Corps WW2 and Korean War hero ‘Chesty’ Puller, is able to embark 250 personnel in order to support a range of missions. According to the USN these include ‘air mine counter-measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and crisis response operations.’ Stationed in the Arabian Gulf, Lewis B. Puller will be able to support a range of low intensity operations allowing other warships to undertake high intensity missions.

GERMAN-DUTCH AMPHIB FORCES BACK IN ACTION

Germany’s special operations forces have resumed training aboard the Dutch amphibious assault ship Karel Doorman after the vessel emerged from refit lasting nearly a year at Den Helder Naval Base.

Germany’s navy has no ship comparable to Karel Doorman, so the agreement enabling its marines to use the vessel is critical in providing it with an amphibious assault capability.

The agreement has enabled integration of Germany’s several hundred strong marine infantry element (Seebataillon) with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (RNLMC) and under Dutch command. The Seebataillon specialise in amphibious reconnaissance, diving, and mine neutralisation.

INTEL-GATHERING VESSEL RECEIVES MAJOR WORK

The German Navy spy ship Oste, lead unit of three Type 422 Class ELINT/SIGINT gathering vessels is under refit at the Nobiskrug shipbuilder’s facility at Rendsburg.

Ostensibly classed as a fleet service ship, she is set to receive an extensive overhaul involving conservation work on the hull, superstructure and tanks in addition to other maintenance work. The Oste is also undergoing a full survey of her material condition. It is unknown if any changes will be made to her intelligence-gathering mission equipment, but it is thought the class is fitted with the latest available.

TRILATERAL ASW AGREEMENT IN GULF

France, the UK, and USA are cooperating in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) activities while operating in the waters of the Middle East/Western Asia.

The trilateral agreement was signed at the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain and represents an effort to increase interoperability, expanding on talks held between the leaders of the three navies which aimed to codify ‘a practical framework on how [the partners] will operate in the 5th Fleet area of operations when it comes to coordinating anti-submarine warfare operations.’

The agreement lays the groundwork for undertaking further joint missions and improving sub-surface cooperation, all to ensure safer more effective operations that are in the best interests of the three nations.

Units of the French and British navies regularly operate with the US 5th Fleet in the Middle East region, and like the USN both have naval bases there. The region includes the crucial Bab-el-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz chokepoints, which it is vital to keep open for global trade.

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