By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs
Exercise Saxon Warrior 2017, a U.S. and U.K.-led multinational exercise designed to hone the interoperability of NATO allies and partners in conducting combined carrier strike group (CSG) operations, concluded August 10.
Saxon Warrior provided invaluable training between the U.S. and U.K. CSGs as the exercise is designed to develop theater-specific combat skills and develop their expertise for real-world multinational operations.
Designed and led by the U.K. Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff, Saxon Warrior presented a myriad challenges to the multi-national and multi-platform force by creating a diverse and unpredictable war environment based on fictional geopolitical and military scenarios by focusing on interoperability and robust training which demonstrated collective force projection capabilities at sea.
“Saxon Warrior allows us to develop our warfighting capabilities with our most trusted partner, the United Kingdom,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike Group 2. “With the U.K. soon bringing HMS Queen Elizabeth, followed by HMS Prince of Wales, the combined carrier force of our partnership will grow to rapidly and credibly handle the full spectrum of warfighting worldwide. Saxon Warrior presented an opportunity to train against a wide variety of threats, and gain confidence that we can answer the call against emergent situations anywhere in the world, we can tackle it together as partners.”
The ten-day exercise which took place off the coast of the United Kingdom was presented in phases. The initial phase presented single-mission scenarios encompassing surface, subsurface and air combat. The exercise also encompassed maritime security operations such as counter-piracy operations and other scenarios that tested a large number of combat skills.
“Saxon Warrior was a perfect platform to test how far we’ve come because we started from scratch,” said Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Capps. “We’re trying to get in a position that when the Queen Elizabeth comes online, we can operate her as an embryonic carrier strike group and develop that towards the future when we go out the doors as fully-fledged carrier strike group.”
The exercise culminated in a multi-mission simulated war that tested every aspect of the warfighting capabilities of the U.S. and U.K. CSGs. Multi-national aircraft squadrons practiced flight operations, air-to-air engagements, long-range strikes and close support of surface combatant ships.
“Saxon Warrior gave us a challenging environment in which to use our warfighting skills,” said Capt. Benjamin Nicholson, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 22 (CDS 22). “Our ships learned to work in unison with our allies, and became the cohesive unit that we were expected to be.”
Exercises like Saxon Warrior allow U.S. military personnel to develop their expertise and demonstrate current capabilities for real-world multinational operations with the U.K. and other allies and partners as we collectively work to increase peace and prosperity throughout the region.
The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests.
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