A trio of allied frigates have arrived at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., ahead of a January graduation exercise held before the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group deploys, USNI News has learned.
French anti-submarine frigate FS Normandie (D651), Royal Danish Navy frigate Iver Huitfeldt (F361) and Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH 332) arrived in port last week, according to photos of the ships arriving at the naval base obtained by USNI News.
The arrival of the three frigates, all adept at anti-submarine warfare, comes ahead of a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) for the Eisenhower CSG planned for later this month. The strike group is expected to deploy later this winter, USNI News understands.
The 4,770-ton Ville de Quebec will be exercising with strike group into the end of the month as part of a cooperative deployment before returning back to Canada, a Royal Canadian Navy spokesman confirmed to USNI News on Friday.
Commander of Iver Huitfeldt, Commander Senior Grade Bo Overgaard, told USNI News the 6,600-ton Danish frigate was going to deploy with Eisenhower later this year. Danish frigate Peter Willemoes (F362) deployed with the George H.W. Bush CSG to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East in a similar arrangement in 2017.
French FREMM Normandie is in the midst of its post-delivery shakedown cruise before joining active service with the French Navy. The 6,000-ton anti-submarine warfare frigate delivered to the French Navy in July and departed the Atlantic naval base at Brest in mid December, according to naval news site Mer et Marine. It’s unclear if Normandie will also drill with the Eisenhower CSG.
Though the ships are all from NATO member countries, they are not operating under the alliance construct, a NATO spokesperson told USNI News on Friday.
A U.S. 2nd Fleet spokesperson did not detail the nature of the port visits when asked by USNI News on Friday.
“We are honored to be hosting our Canadian, Danish and French allies in Norfolk; these are proven partnerships built upon shared values, experiences, mission and vision,” reads a Friday afternoon statement provided to USNI News. “Our allies are vital to U.S. 2nd Fleet’s mission to ensure security and stability in the North Atlantic and the Arctic, and having the opportunity for our nations’ sailors to meet face to face in Norfolk is tremendously beneficial.”
Second Fleet achieved full operational capability on Dec. 31 and is focused on high-end warfare in the Atlantic.