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Argentinean Warship Joins Enterprise Strike Group in Exercise

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS030620-19

Release Date: 6/22/2003 12:00:00 PM

By Lt. j.g. Ligia Cohen, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Argentinean destroyer ARA Sarandi (D 13) arrived at Naval Station Norfolk June 20 to join the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group and Destroyer Squadron 18 as part of Exercise Solid Step.

The goal of Exercise Solid Step is enhanced interoperability between the Argentine Armada and the U.S. Navy, through the incorporation of an Argentinean destroyer into a U.S. Carrier Strike Group (GSG).

Exercise Solid Step is a Chief of Naval Operations' initiative under the executive management of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Rear Adm. Vinson E. Smith. As multinational maritime operations are becoming increasingly more important, Exercise Solid Step seeks to enhance Argentine/U.S. Navy interoperability by addressing the challenges associated with sustained integrated operations.

"With the incorporation of Sarandi into the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, we are taking a gigantic step in supporting our theater plan to build coalition partners as a multinational force multiplier," said Smith. "Exercise Solid Step will not only build interoperability between the U.S. and Argentinean Navy, but will also set guidelines for future efforts with other partner nations in the Western Hemisphere."

The exercise will be conducted in two-phases. Phase One incorporates the Argentine destroyer in the U.S. Navy's Interdeployment Training Cycle, to include Carrier Strike Group work-up and interoperability exercises, such as Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). Phase Two is a proof of concept phase where Sarandi will demonstrate her interoperability, and deploy with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group.

Solid Step constitutes the first time a non-NATO ally integrates with a U.S. strike group and provides an excellent opportunity for both navies to address the different aspects of sustained integrated operations, including training, logistic, maintenance, rules of engagement, and command and control.

"Sarandi's integration is a great opportunity to leverage the ship's tactical capabilities within the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Jim Stavridis, Enterprise CSG commander. "It is also an opportunity to exchange rich naval traditions between both our countries and navies."

Commissioned in 1982, Sarandi is an Almirante Brown destroyer with a crew of 224 sailors. It has a helicopter detachment embarked with two AS 555 Fennec helicopters, which provide over the horizon targeting capabilities and supports the ship's antisubmarine warfare mission.

Through efforts like Solid Step, the U.S. Navy continues fostering professional and cooperative relationships with friends and allies to maintain readiness and build coalition capabilities, in order to create force multipliers in response to crisis around the world.

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