July 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy took part in an integration exercise in the Persian Gulf last week, U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced.
F-15E Strike Eagle fighter planes attached to the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron participated in an "air operations in maritime surface warfare" exercise with the Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Gonzalez and a P-3 Orion patrol plane on July 24.
"This unit-level exercise reinforced integration of U.S. Air Force assets in support of U.S. Navy surface combatants," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Adrian Willing, 609th Air Operations Center Master Air Attack Plan Cell planner. "This training reinforces the very real-world missions they are already conducting."
The exercise was a demonstration of a joint operation between the Air Force and the Navy to build a closer relationship between the Central Commands of the service branches.
The planes are assigned to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. The USS Gonzales is an element of the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group, a multi-ship squadron led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and in the region since May.
The USS Gonzales left the strike group's home port of Naval Station Norfolk in March, several days before the rest of the ships were deployed.
The exercise comes as U.S. planes and ships patrol the Persian Gulf in response to aggressive actions by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. In May, the United Arab Emirates and the United States agreed to a new defense cooperation deal.