The US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) has been forward deployed to Rota, Spain, from its Norfolk homeport, as part of a Nato ballistic missile defence plan to boost security in the European region.
At the Rota port, USS Ross and the already positioned USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) will be joined by two additional ballistic missile defence (BMD)-capable destroyers, USS Porter (DDG 78) from Norfolk and USS Carney (DDG 64) from Mayport, Florida, during the next 18 months.
US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that the latest deployment boosts relationships between the US and Spain.
"Permanently forward deploying four ships in Rota will enable us to be in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time," Mabus said.
The deployments also form part of the US plan to lay land and sea-based radars and interceptors in several European regions over the next ten years.
As part of the mission, the vessels will carry out a range of tasks, such as Nato missile defence, the full range of maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, and Nato operations and deployments.
In addition, positioning the vessels out of the country will enable the US Navy to maintain a continuous presence in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic Ocean.
Ross commanding officer commander Tadd Gorman said: "This mission presents a valuable opportunity to not only enhance US and European BMD, but to also develop stronger relationships with Spain and all of our Nato allies."
Image: The US Navy's USS Ross destroyer during its departure from Norfolk homeport. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ellen E. Long.