Maritime forces from North Africa, Europe, and the United States kicked off Exercise Phoenix Express 2015 with opening ceremonies in Tunisia.
The at sea portion of the exercise begins today, Monday, and will test North African, European, and U.S. forces’ abilities to combat illegal migration, piracy, and movement of materials for weapons of mass destruction.
Phoenix Express 2015, sponsored and facilitated by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to counter sea-based illicit activity in the region.
Capt. John Mosher, Phoenix Express, exercise director, said:
Interoperability between all the different nations is what we’re focusing on and how we do things to ensure and improve the security of the Mediterranean.
The at-sea portion of the exercise will test North African, European, and U.S. forces’ abilities to combat illegal migration, piracy, and movement of materials for weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, participating forces will work together to practice procedures of search and rescue in cases where vessels are in distress.
U.S. units participating include the dive and rescue salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) and P-3C Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47. Additionally, medical and maritime interdiction operations (MIO) specialists will assist participating partner nation units during the exercise.
Participating nations in Phoenix Express 2015 include Algeria, Croatia, Greece, Egypt, France, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.
Image: US Navy