Destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) pulled into Naval Station Rota, Spain over the weekend as it officially becomes part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe (FDNF-E).
In a news release, U.S. 6th Fleet said the guided-missile destroyer pulled into Rota on Sunday after exercising in the Atlantic Ocean with submarine USS Vermont (SSN-792), P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80).
“As one of the most technologically advanced destroyers in the entire United States Navy, we are excited to provide additional capability to Sixth Fleet operations,” Arleigh Burke commanding officer Cmdr. Patrick Chapman said in the release. “However, even stronger than the technology we have been outfitted with is the strength of our crew. Every day we train to be the most effective crew possible – one that is ready for sustained forward presence in the Sixth Fleet area of operations.”
The destroyer has received the Aegis Combat System Baseline 9 update, according to the Navy.
“With an Aegis weapon system, USS Arleigh Burke brings the U.S. Navy’s top-of-the-line capabilities to the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach and NATO’s robust integrated air missile defense architecture,” the service said in the news release. “USS Arleigh Burke will support these missions, while patrolling the waters surrounding Europe and Africa, ensuring freedom of navigation in critical waterways.”
Arleigh Burke is relieving USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), which has been based in Rota since 2014. Destroyers Roosevelt, USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78) are also currently based in Rota as part of FDNF-E.
Last year, the Navy swapped Roosevelt into the Rota lineup to relieve USS Carney (DDG-64), which had been based in Spain since 2015. After several years with FDNF-E, Carney sailed back last June to its prior homeport in Naval Station Mayport.
According to ship spotters, Donald Cook has already left Rota. The destroyer will now be based out of Naval Station Mayport, the Navy said in a separate news release.
Arleigh Burke left Naval Station Norfolk and began sailing to Rota on March 26, according to the Navy.