NATO Kicks Off Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 2022

Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) commenced NATO-led activity Neptune Strike 2022 from the SIXTHFLT flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Jan. 24. The activity is planned to run until 4 Feb.

Neptune Strike 2022 highlights the natural evolution of NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the Alliance. Neptune Strike 2022 accomplishes the long-planned handover of command and control of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from SIXTHFLT to STRIKFORNATO and the wider Alliance. It represents a strong sign of transatlantic unity and readiness.

Neptune Strike 2022 is the execution phase of a long series of activities known as Project Neptune, conceptualized in 2020. The activity focuses on overcoming the complexities of integrating command and control of a carrier strike group to NATO.

Previous events in the Neptune series include table-top exercises at SIXTHFLT headquarters in Naples, Italy, last year, and a STRIKFORNATO embark in 2021 aboard Mount Whitney called Neptune Challenge. Neptune Challenge integrated the two staffs aboard Mount Whitney in the Black Sea and developed the necessary procedures enabling the successful start of Neptune Strike.

USS Harry S. Truman, Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS San Jacinto, and Royal Norwegian Navy Frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen in a passing exercise with the Tunisian offshore patrol vessel Hannon and La Combatante III class fast patrol boat Tunis in the Mediterranean Sea in December. Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are equipped to fire Standard MIssile 3 anti-ballistic missiles. Photo: NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Command Europe.