As part of the U.S. and NATO’s presence mission on the Black Sea, guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78) is set to enter the region on Tuesday, U.S. 6th Fleet announced.
The ship is part of a quartet of U.S. guided missile destroyers forward deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain as part of the U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) network in Europe.
The U.S. destroyers have been part of Operation Atlantic Resolve — the NATO presence missions to assure U.S. and NATO allies following the Russian seizure of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March of 2014.
“The U.S. remains committed to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe. We look forward to further commitments by our allies to ensure a coordinated and continuous land, air and sea presence in the region as part of the commitments made at the NATO Summit,” read the statement from 6th Fleet.
In September the U.S. and Ukraine conducted two weeks of drills in the Black Sea that “included maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare, and self-defense against small boat attacks,” according to 6th Fleet.
Also, in late September the fourth destroyer based in Rota, USS Carney (DDG-64) arrived to complete the planned destroyer forward presence in Spain.
The four ships will eventually pair with two Aegis Ashore installations currently being built in Poland and Romania as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to BMD.
In July, the service announced the creation of Commander Task Force 64 (CTF-64) to create a standalone taskforce “to address the growth and emphasis on ballistic missile defense and integrated air and missile defense mission” in the European area of responsibility (AOR).
The forward deployed destroyers will be components of CTF-64, USNI News understands.