NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Ships from Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States returned to Naval Station Norfolk July 1, completing the at-sea phase of FRUKUS 2011 off the coast of Virginia.
FS Ventose (F 733) from France, RFS Admiral Chabanenko (DD 650) from Russia, HMS Dauntless (D 33) from the United Kingdom, and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) conducted training exercises at sea, centered on maritime domain awareness, anti-piracy, and maritime interdiction operations.
"The sharing of experiences and techniques has been a very good exchange," said Capt. Peter DeMane, commander, FRUKUS Combined Task Group (CTG). "We learned a lot from each other."
FRUKUS, the acronym representing participating countries, is a two-week interoperability exercise aimed to improve maritime security through open dialog and increased training between the participating navies.
The exercise consisted of two phases: ashore and at sea. The shore-based multinational CTG provided command and control for the ships at sea. All phases made successful contributions to the team-building between the maritime partners, according to staff planners.
"This has been a very successful operation," said Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10. "We hope this is just the beginning of an increase in our ability to secure maritime security around the world and to lead us -- as four different nations -- into future combined operations ashore and afloat."
DeMane added that one of the main considerations for a multi-national exercise is always the concern of a possible language barrier creating dangerous operating conditions, especially at sea where conditions can change in an instant.
"My overall assessment is that this exercise has been very safe," said DeMane. "The ships operated superbly and with no significant casualties."
Although all of the world's navies share the same oceans, the opportunity to work together in a combined exercise provided additional training for real-world situations.
"It's not often we get to train with other nations, especially the Russian ships," said British sailor Wes Ridley. "Seeing how other navies do things and having them see our way was quite interesting."
FRUKUS is scheduled to be hosted by Russia in 2012.
Participating forces from the U.S. Navy included Commander Carrier Strike Group 10, Destroyer Squadron 26, and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95). International participants included the FS Ventose (F33) from France, RFS Admiral Chabanenko (D 650) from Russia, and HMS Dauntless (D 33) from the United Kingdom.
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