Forward-deployed destroyers bring continued Euro-Atlantic experience for USN

USS Carney
USS Carney (left) sails with Arleigh Burke-class sister ship USS Ramage in the Mediterranean Sea, in October 2023. Following a five-year forward deployment to Rota, Spain, Carney is continuing to provide presence and capability in the Euro-Atlantic theatre.

US Navy (USN) DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that have previously been forward deployed to Rota, Spain are continuing to bring regional experience and operational capability to the Euro-Atlantic theatre and more widely, even after having rotated out of the Rota deployment.

Under the Forward Deployed Naval Forces – Europe (FDNF-E) programme, the USN has homeported four Arleigh Burkes to the Naval Station Rota facility. The first four FDNF-E ships to be based there – US ships Donald Cook, Ross, Porter, and Carney – arrived in 2014 and 2015. They were subsequently relieved, between 2020 and 2022, by sister DDG 51 ships Arleigh Burke, Paul Ignatius, Bulkeley, and Roosevelt, respectively.

Despite handing over, the original FDNF-E ships have continued to bring their ship’s capability and ship’s company experience to bear across US Sixth Fleet’s Euro-Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR), and more widely.

In early April 2024, Carney conducted a port visit to Palermo, Sicily, having transited the Suez Canal following deployment to the Red Sea region to support the USN-led, multinational operation ‘Prosperity Guardian’. The operation, established in December 2023, is designed to deter and defend against ongoing attacks by Yemen-based Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels on commercial and naval shipping sailing in the Red Sea/Bab-al-Mandeb/Gulf of Aden corridor. During its participation in ‘Prosperity Guardian’, Carney shot down several Houthi missiles and uncrewed systems, including some that appeared to be targeting the ship directly; Carney also engaged a wave attack involving UAVs.

Carney had sailed for its return to the Euro-Atlantic theatre and beyond – from its new homeport in Mayport, Florida – in late September 2023. Prior to deploying to the Red Sea, it formed part of the USN’s USS Gerald R Ford carrier strike group (CSG) in the Mediterranean Sea.

In a statement published alongside Carney’s arrival in Palermo, US Sixth Fleet said “While in the Red Sea, Carney provided extensive support and defence for vessels transiting, and supported the free flow of commerce.” “Carney will continue to provide a persistent stabilizing force in the Mediterranean … [and] will be working with regional allies and partners in support of US and NATO commitment to maritime security in Europe and Africa,” it added.

In the statement, the ship’s commanding officer (CO) Commander Jeremy Robertson said “Carney’s deployment continues to exhibit our commitment to the Fifth and Sixth Fleet regions, and we look forward to collaborating with our counterparts to ensure maritime security, safety of commerce, and freedom of navigation.”

by Dr. Lee Willett