Navy leaders from the U.K., France and the U.S. signed an agreement on June 1, designed to increase coordination for anti-submarine warfare activities in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Red Sea.
Naval chiefs from the three navies affirmed their commitment to enhanced interoperability in the area encompassing the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations.
"We believe this increased trilateral cooperation will help secure a future that is not only in the interests of our three nations, but in the common interests of our allies, partners and all like-minded nations who are committed to peace, prosperity and maritime security," an excerpt from the statement read.
The U.S., U.K. and French navies regularly operate together in the region. France has deployed its nuclear aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle twice to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Inherent Resolve aimed at defeating ISIS in the region.
In 2015, a French admiral, embarked on Charles de Gaulle, commanded NAVCENT's Task Force (TF) 50, a U.S. task force. A Royal Navy admiral also assumed command of TF 50 last November while embarked aboard the amphibious helicopter carrier HMS Ocean. Additionally, both navies have had ships serving as part of TF 50 and with the Combined Maritime Forces in the region.
In May, the International Maritime Exercise 2017, led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, was held to promote interoperability in all facets of defensive maritime warfare. The exercise included personnel from the U.S. and more than 20 partner nations, as well as representatives from the civilian shipping industry group Oil Companies International Marine Forum.
Participants took part in field exercises simulating realistic scenarios that have occurred in or threaten the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. Situations included a simulated missile attack, mine threats, a mine strike on a naval vessel and a fast attack craft threat.
U.S. 5th Fleet's area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.