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USS America conducts first bilateral refueling at sea with British warship

USS America conducts first bilateral refueling at sea with British warship
Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America man the rails before a fueling-at-sea with Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender on Friday, the first time in history a U.S. vessel has refueled a British vessel. Photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Thomas Contant/U.S. Navy

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The USS America refueled a Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender at sea in its first bilateral fueling at sea with a British warship in history.

The U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship conducted the bilateral FAS with the HMS Defender while operating with elements of Britain's Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea Friday, the Navy said in a statement Sunday.

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It was the first time in history a U.S. amphibious ship has conducted the bilateral FAS with a British warship, and the third time the United States has refueled a partner nation at sea this summer, according to the Navy.

Prior to refueling the HMS Defender, the USS America had refueled the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat on July 27 during Talisman Sabre 21.

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On Aug 7, the USS America also refueled the Ballarat again, and also refueled the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Makinami.

"The America Team thoroughly enjoyed having our Royal Navy brethren alongside today," Capt. Ken Ward, America's commanding officer, said in a press release.

"Today's operations with Defender not only extended their operational time on station to support our combined missions, it provided another opportunity to demonstrate our interoperability with our allies and partners as we train and operate across a free and open Indo-Pacific," Ward said.

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RELATED 20th annual SEACAT multilateral exercise concludes Friday

Britain's Carrier Strike Group and USS America Expeditionary Strike Group with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit began the exercise to support the Large Scale Global Exercise 21 across the Indo-Pacific region.

The all-domain exercise with forces from the United States, Australia, Japan and Britain begin earlier this month and will run until next Friday.

A U.S.-only Large Scale Exercise to demonstrate global readiness also occurred from Aug. 3 to Aug. 16.

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