U.S. Navy and Royal Moroccan Navy Conduct Exercise Lightning Handshake

The Royal Moroccan Navy Sigma-class multi-mission frigate Tarik Ben Zayid (FMMM 613) fires its 76mm gun during a live-fire exercise with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), March 3, 2021.
The Royal Moroccan Navy Sigma-class multi-mission frigate Tarik Ben Zayid (FMMM 613) fires its 76mm gun during a live-fire exercise with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), March 3, 2021.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) is participating in Lightning Handshake, a bilateral maritime exercise between the U.S. and the Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN) and Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) during the first week of March.

The exercise enhances interoperability between the U.S. and Moroccan Navies across multiple warfare areas, many of which include: surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air and strike warfare, combined logistics support, maritime interdiction operations.

the arleigh burke-class destroyer uss porter (ddg-78), left, the royal moroccan navy frigate tarnk ben ziyad, center, and the arleigh burke-class destroyer uss mitscher (ddg-57), sail in formation with the nimitz-class aircraft carrier uss dwight d. eisenhower (cvn 69). ike is on a routine deployment in the u.s. sixth fleet area of operations in support of u.s. national interests and security in europe and africa. (u.s. navy photo)
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78), left, the Royal Moroccan Navy frigate Tarnk Ben Ziyad, center, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG-57), sail in formation with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). IKE is on a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. National interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy Photo)

 “On behalf of the Sailors assigned to the IKE CSG it’s 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.”

Lightning Handshake 2021 increases the ability of U.S. and Moroccan maritime forces to work together in order to address security concerns and increase stability in the region.

Participating ships in Lightning Handshake from the IKE CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); and Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), and USS Porter (DDG 78).

Moroccan assets participating in Lightning Handshake include: Royal Moroccan 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.

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The Royal Moroccan Navy Sigma-class multi-mission frigate Tarik Ben Zayid (FMMM 613), front, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) are underway with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), March 3, 2021. (US Navy Photo)

USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) participated in the 2018 exercise and included unit events which flexed interoperability between the U.S. and Royal Moroccan Navies in the following warfare areas; communication, link, Anti-Submarine Warfare, close air support and Naval Surface Fire Support.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group

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.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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The Royal Moroccan Air Force and aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 fly over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the Atlantic Ocean, March 3, 2021. (US Navy Photo)

Check out Naval Library App to find out specifications of the participating ships.

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