U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 along with U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 7th Special Operations Squadron, Ukraine, and U.K. conducted coordinated operations and support to maritime and ground forces in the Black Sea region as part of Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 (SB21), from June 28 – July 10.
Aircrews from multiple nations welcomed the international community visiting Ukraine with an airshow at Mikolaiv, Odesa, and Kulbakino. Another airshow, conducted by aircraft from multiple nations, was conducted in Odesa to celebrate Ukraine Navy Day and U.S. Independence Day. Aircraft also trained together, with both Ukrainian and U.K. fighters conducting intercept and formation training with US aircraft.
SB21 provides the opportunity for personnel of participating nations to engage in realistic maritime training to build experience and teamwork and strengthen our interoperability as we work toward mutual goals.
“Over the course of the coming weeks, we intend to build on two decades of iterations that will only grow our experiences, teamwork, and knowledge that we will carry back to share with our nations,” said Capt. Stewart Bauman, U.S. Navy lead training officer. “U.S. Sixth Fleet alongside our NATO Allies and partners in the Black Sea region will work together to enhance interoperability and promote security and stability.”
Beginning in 1997, Exercise Sea Breeze brings most Black Sea nations and NATO Allies and partners together to train and operate with NATO members in the pursuit of building increased capability. For SB21, the aircraft conducted 60 serials and training events throughout the Black Sea region.
“The main purpose of Exercise Sea Breeze is to ensure security for peace,” Lt. Col. Anatoliy Glynenko, Head of Exercise Sea Breeze Aviation Component.
Throughout the exercise, aircraft completed missions supporting logistics and maritime and ground operations to include simulated close air support, transportation of ground troops and equipment, air defense training with UKR SU-27s and UK EF-2000 Typhoon, and surface-to-surface training.
SB21 is taking place from June 28 to July 10 in the Black Sea region and focuses on multiple warfare areas including diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, and search and rescue operations.
“Our focus for this exercise is interoperability and cooperation; to have multiple nations work together in order to successfully execute a mission and exchange methods and techniques that would allow for more efficient cooperation,” said Lt. Nathan Yavoich, Exercise Sea Breeze Aviation Component U.S. representative.
Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from NATO allies and partners from around the globe.
U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from 2D Marine Division and 2ND Marine Logistics Group, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet staff.
Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 is an annual multinational maritime exercise, involving sea, land, and air components, and is co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine to enhance interoperability and capability among participating forces in the Black Sea region.
VP-40 is currently forward-deployed to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations and is assigned to Commander, Task Force 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout Europe and Africa.
Task Force 67′s mission is to provide responsive, interoperable, and expeditionary combat ready maritime patrol aircraft and supporting forces to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet (CNE-CNA-C6F), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Unified Commanders to conduct effective Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), provide factual, credible, actionable intelligence, targeting information, and promote cooperative maritime security in order to enhance regional stability to fight and win our Nation's wars.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa/U.S. SIXTH Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.