Morocco’s Royal Navy and Air Forces are participating with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in a maritime exercise aimed at enhancing their joint interoperability to advance US-Morocco interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Code-named “Lightning Handshake”, the exercise, which is taking place during this first week of March, includes several operations in surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air and strike warfare, combined logistics support, maritime interdiction operations.
The naval drill increases the ability of US and Moroccan maritime forces to work together in order to address security concerns and increase stability in the region, says a press release issued Wednesday by the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa Command/U.S. 6th fleet.
“It is an honor to participate in this historic bi-lateral maritime exercise; hallmarking 200 years of an enduring partnership with Morocco,” said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander, Carrier Strike Group Two.
“Exercises like Lighting Handshake enhance the foundation of our interoperability and continued support of our long-term commitment to security in the region”, he stressed.
Moroccan forces participating in Lightning Handshake 2021 include: Royal Navy Frigate Tarik Ben Ziyad (SIGMA Class Frigate), Royal Naval HQ Maritime Operations Center (MOC), Royal Air Force HQ Air Operations Center (AOC), one Panther Helicopter, and two of each fixed-wing combat F-16 and F-5 fighter aircraft.
Participating American ships in the exercise are flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Destroyer Squadron 22 ships comprising Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), and USS Porter (DDG 78).
Several US air squadrons embarked on Eisenhower are also taking part in Lightning Handshake. Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe.