The US Navy’s Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have conducted a maritime training exercise with Italian and French partners.

During the exercise, naval ships and aircraft from Italy and France participated in precision manoeuvring operations off the coast of Sicily.

The exercise involved the ARG flagship, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), and the Italian amphibious ship ITS San Giorgio.

French amphibious assault ship FS Mistral and the French frigate FS Guepratte also participated in the exercise.

Bataan commanding officer Captain Bryan Carmichael said: “This exercise provided a great opportunity for partner nations to work together and share strategies for real-world scenarios.

“Big 5’s sailors and marines demonstrated our continuous commitment to Nato partners, regional security, and national interests.”

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Furthermore, dynamic landings were conducted by aircraft embarked on Bataan including MV-22B Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365 (Reinforced) and MH-60S Seahawks from the Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, on the flight deck of the Mistral.

French Alouette and Gazelle helicopters and an Italian SH101-A helicopter conducted landings on the flight deck of Bataan.

The Bataan ARG also includes the USS New York (LPD 21) operating in the Mediterranean Sea and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) operating in the Black Sea with USS Porter (DDG 78).

LPD 21 is the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship.

Bataan ARG and 26th MEU consist of more than 4,000 total sailors and marines.

Bataan ARG commander Captain Lance Lesher said: “The Bataan ARG and 26th MEU’s operations at sea alongside our Nato allies represent another demonstration of our steadfast and mutual commitment to ensuring a free and peaceful Europe.

“No nation can confront today’s challenges alone, and our valued partners in this region can count on us to be engaged and postured as a premier crisis response team in an increasingly complex security environment.”