By ENS Brinn Hefron, USS PORTER Public Affairs Officer
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), participated in Interoperability Exercises with Ukrainian Naval Forces in the Black Sea on Jan. 30, 2021.
Off the coast of Ukraine, in the Black Sea, Porter, along with the Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO-203), operated with three Ukrainian Navy vessels; the Gurza-M-class UKRS Kostopol (P 180) and UKRS Nikopol (P 176), and the Island-class patrol boat UKRS Starobilsk (P 191), as well as a Ukrainian Navy MI-14 helicopter.
"The naval exercise in the Black Sea is another excellent example of the strong partnership between the United States and Ukraine, and our work together to strengthen Euro-Atlantic security.” said Chargé d’Affaires, Kristina A. Kvien, U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine.
The exercises provided the U.S. and Ukrainian Naval Forces the opportunity to practice tactical maneuvering while operating with a High Value Unit, the USNS Laramie. The ships were able to practice coordinated small boat attack responses and surface warfare exercises while watch-standers onboard Porter received small caliber arms training.
The ship’s operations in the Black Sea strengthens interoperability among NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Porter is on her 9th patrol of the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
“We conducted a great bilateral training at sea today with the Ukrainian navy. We definitely learned from each other and strengthened our partnership,” said Cmdr. Thomas Ralston, commanding officer of Porter. “Engagements and bi-lateral exercises with our partners and allies in the region enhance our interoperability as a long-term effort to improve regional cooperation and maritime security. I look forward to future opportunities to evolve our interoperability with the Ukrainian navy.”
The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability throughout Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea to work with our NATO Allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine.
It is in the world’s best interest to maintain a stable, prosperous Black Sea region and deter aggressive actors who seek destabilization for their own gain.
U.S. Sixth Fleet has provided over $40 million via Section 333 funding to establish Ukraine’s baseline Maritime Domain Awareness capability in the development, integration, and linkage of permanently-based and mobile coastal radar sites. These bases and sites are regularly working together with ships like USS Porter to help Ukraine maintain situational awareness of its territorial waters.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Porter, are based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.