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U.S., Turkish navies conduct Black Sea exercise

U.S., Turkish navies conduct Black Sea exercise
Ships of the U.S. and Turkish navies conducted a one-day joint exercise on the Black Sea this week, the U.S. Navy announced. Photo courtesy of Turkish Defense Ministry 

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A U.S.-Turkey joint Navy exercise on the Black Sea successfully integrated surface, air and subsurface warfare capabilities this week, the two countries announced.

The U.S. Sixth Fleet's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Porter, joined by a P-8A reconnaissance plane, joined Turkish frigates TCG Orucreis and TCG Turgutreis and two Turkish F-16 fighter planes for the one-day exercise on Tuesday, the U.S. Navy said.

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"The training conducted for the fundamental types of naval warfare has further strengthened cooperation between the Naval Forces of the two countries and has contributed to their interoperability," the Turkish defense ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

The training included an air defense exercise in which the Turkish F-16s were strategically maneuvered by aircraft controllers aboard the ships and tactical maritime maneuvers involving precise communication and stationing skills.

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They were followed by a hunt for a simulated submarine, which involved the P-8A plane.

"Turkey is a highly valued Ally and NATO maritime partner, whose joint operations with the U.S. Navy in the Black Sea reinforce the asymmetric advantage of the NATO Alliance," Vice Adm. Gene Black, U.S. Sixth Fleet commander, said in a press release.

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"Our ability to collaborate and operate together is based on the solidarity and strength of NATO, which enables stability in the maritime domain," said Black, who is also commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.

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Turkey will lead NATO's high-readiness force, an assignment given to NATO member nations on a rotating basis, in 2021.

The Black Sea is regarded as a critical international waterway for maritime stability in Europe. Bordered by Russia and five NATO members and partners, it is a common site for NATO exercises and demonstrations of strength and capability.

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