By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) is participating in Exercise African Lion 2022 in Agadir, Morocco and Gabes, Tunisia along with partners and allies from 11 nations, June 21-30, 2022.
Participating ships and aircraft include San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), and one P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9.
“African Lion 2022 is an opportunity to highlight our shared commitment to protecting the waters surrounding Africa alongside our allies and partners,” said Rear Adm. Jeffrey Spivey, director of maritime partnership program, U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “The lessons learned throughout the exercise will help improve our collective capabilities to counter transnational threats and promote maritime security in the region.”
African Lion is U.S. Africa Command’s premier annual exercise, involving more than 7,500 service members. Led by the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, African Lion 22 will take place in four countries: Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia. Militaries from Brazil, Chad, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom will join U.S. and host nation troops.
African Lion 22 features a joint task force command post exercise, a combined arms live fire exercise, a maritime exercise, an air exercise including bomber aircraft, a joint forcible entry with paratroopers into a field training exercise, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response exercise, and a humanitarian civic assistance program event.
The exercise bolsters interoperability among partner nations and supports U.S. military strategic readiness to respond to crises and contingencies in Africa and around the world.
The maritime portion of the exercise, led by NAVAF, includes a naval gunfire exercise, multiple sea-based maneuvers, maritime interdiction exercises, and simulated amphibious operations.
“African Lion 2022 demonstrates the strong military bonds between participating nations, and is the fourth time that Porter has been able to train with the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces in the past 18 months,” said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, commanding officer, USS Porter (DDG 78). “Maritime exercises like this provide a critical opportunity to improve interoperability with our partners and prove that we are stronger together.”
Arlington and elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), attached to the Kearsarge Amphibious Group (ARG) and under the command and control of Task Force 61/2, will conduct Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) operations in Gabes, Tunisia with partners. ANGLICO forces provide Marine Air Ground Task Force commanders a liaison capability to plan, coordinate, employ, and conduct terminal control of fires in support of joint, coalition, or allied forces.
“Exercise African Lion promises to be a fantastic exercise for the Marines of the 22nd MEU,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Myette, executive officer, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. “During African Lion, the MEU will have the opportunity to exercise a number of our core skills as we train side by side with our Tunisian partners to promote security and stability in the region.”
Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The African and Euro-Atlantic navies share myriad security interests in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Naval Forces Africa is committed to working alongside its Northern African and Euro Atlantic allies and partners to help improve maritime security in the Southern Mediterranean.
For over 80 years, NAVEUR-NAVAF has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.