ARABIAN SEA – The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Egyptian navy’s guided-missile frigate Alexandria (FFGH 911) and the Ambassador III class missile craft Soliman Ezzat (PCFG 682) in the Northern Arabian Sea, Feb. 12.
The exercise was designed to improve interoperability and signal a long-term cooperation with the Egyptian navy.
“Conducting a PASSEX with our Egyptian counterparts was a great opportunity to strengthen the partnership between our two navies,” said Cmdr. Steve Schmidt, commanding officer of Fort McHenry. “We are committed to working with our allies in maintaining freedom of navigation throughout the region.”
The three ships conducted a security query and pre-boarding approach exercise, before Alexandria and Soliman Ezzat pulled alongside Fort McHenry. They then sailed in close formation, which allowed watch teams from both nations to train in maneuvering and communication.
“Training is the backbone of efficiency,” said Schmidt. “The PASSEX gave our watch and communication teams the chance to experience a scenario that was very real and beneficial to all involved.”
Fort McHenry is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.