NORFOLK (NNS) -- Ships from France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States departed Naval Station Norfolk to participate in the at-sea phase of FRUKUS 2011 off the coast of Virginia, June 27.
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) are scheduled to conduct training events centered on maritime domain awareness, anti-piracy and maritime interdiction operations.
FRUKUS stands for the participating nations and aims to improve maritime security through open dialogue and increased training between the participating navies.
A shore-based multinational combined task group (CTG) will provide command and control for the ships during the at-sea phase. Emphasis will be on furthering operational and tactical interoperability among participating naval forces that could contribute to a multinational task force operating under the authority of a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
"I'm pleased with the success of the exercise so far and look forward to this week's events at sea," said U.S. Navy Capt. Peter DeMane, commander, FRUKUS 2011 Combined Task Group. "By working together, we will continue to meet future peacekeeping, humanitarian, counter-piracy and other maritime challenges."
The partner nation ships arrived last week and participated in damage control, firefighting and ship handling training as part of the in-port phase of FRUKUS 2011. The CTG and ships' crews finalized preparations throughout the weekend for this week's events.
"Everyone is alive and well," said Russian Capt. Andrey Sizov, executive officer, RFS Admiral Chabanenko (DD 650). "We've had a lot of training and preparation leading up to FRUKUS. Everyone is striving to complete this evolution as successfully as possible."
"I hope to gain an insight into how our partner ships operate at sea so that, if called upon, we could all work together toward a common operational goal," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Christopher Senenko, commanding officer, USS James E. Williams.
"It's an honor for me to be a part of this exercise as well as continue to improve our capacity to work with other nations because this shows how important it is to collaborate and cooperate with others," said French Capt. Pascal Lebarbier, commanding officer, FS Ventose.
Concurrently scheduled this week are flag-level plenary sessions where admirals from each country will attend discussions covering a variety of topics including officer standards for training, certification and watch keeping, as well as developing and maintaining situational awareness among coalition forces.
Scheduled to participate in the plenary sessions are: French navy Vice Adm. Xavier Magne, Assistant Chief of the naval Staff, Operations; Russian Federation navy Rear Adm. Leonid Sukhanov, Deputy to Chief of Main naval Staff; Royal naval Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, Commander, United Kingdom Maritime Force; and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Kenneth Norton, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Resources, and Plans.
"RUKUS" was originally created in 1988 to aid in talks between the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. France joined the exercise in 2003 and the name changed to "FRUKUS." Sponsorship rotates between the four navies with the lead nation traditionally providing a blend of professional and cultural activities.
Participating forces from the U.S. Navy include Commander Carrier Strike Group 10, Destroyer Squadron 26, and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95). International participants include the FS Ventose (F 733) from France, RFS Admiral Chabanenko (DD 650) from Russia, and HMS Dauntless (D 33) from the United Kingdom.
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