US and French forces participate in contingency training

US and French forces participate in contingency training 12 Mar, 18, Source: US Navy

Naval Special Warfare forces and the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command conducted interoperability training with French amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre (L9014) and USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 189) in the Arabian Gulf, Feb. 6.

This was the first mission for a French Mistral class LHD as a platform for U.S. special operations. The training consisted of visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) rehearsals intended to enhance maritime interoperability between international partners and U.S. military assets in the region.

“Training together to improve our amphibious actions is essential,” said French Capt. Nicolas Vaujour, commander of France’s amphibious task group. “Exercises such as this one best prepare us for a bilateral or multilateral response to a contingency operation.”

The special operations teams launched MH-60 helicopters and combatant craft assault boats during a multidimensional VBSS rehearsal on a simulated vessel of interest. The exercise demonstrated Tonnerre Amphibious Task Group’s ability to command a control a complex helicopter and seaborne mission to interdict a vessel of interest.

TF 51/5 embarked approximately 150 U.S. Sailors and Marines aboard Tonnerre in November 2017 to conduct amphibious operations in the region. This was the sixth multilateral training evolution Tonnerre participated in during its deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

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