German warship to deploy with Truman carrier strike group
By BROCK VERGAKIS | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: January 30, 2018
NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A German warship that specializes in air defense will join a local aircraft carrier strike group on its upcoming deployment, according to the U.S. Navy.
The USS Harry S. Truman strike group is scheduled to leave Naval Station Norfolk this spring on a regularly scheduled deployment to Europe and the Middle East.
The Truman and its escort ships will be joined by the German frigate FGS Hessen. The Hessen arrived in Norfolk on Sunday to participate in the strike group's final certification exercise, which will take place over the next month. The Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen also will participate in the exercise, but is not scheduled to deploy with the strike group.
The U.S. routinely conducts training with NATO allies and other partner nations ahead of and during deployments.
"The Hessen is Germany's most modern air defense frigate, so the unique capability the Hessen brings is to have a top-notch, state-of-the-art air defense system and weaponry, so it can really not only do its part in protecting the carrier strike group against air threats, but it's also able with its sophisticated combat systems to take over a leading role in the air defense of the group," German Rear Adm. Thomas Ernst, defense attache to the German embassy, said in a U.S. Navy video.
The Sachsen-class German frigate is the only type of ship in the western world with three types of surface-to-air missiles, according to the U.S. Navy. Its radar also has a detection range of more than 200 nautical miles for air targets and can automatically track up to 1,000 air tracks.
This will be the third time the Hessen has deployed with a carrier strike group, according to German officials.
It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday how long the Hessen would operate with the Truman. In 2010, the Hessen left the Truman strike group in the Mediterranean Sea about a month after the deployment began.
"Hessen was not merely a symbolic addition to an existing U.S. carrier strike group. She was fully integrated, early in the training phase, and she performed superbly," Capt. Pete DeMane, deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 26, said at the time. "It was an honor to sail with such a formidable combatant."
The Hessen isn't the only German frigate to have deployed with a U.S. carrier strike group. In 2013, the frigate Hamburg joined the Norfolk-based USS Dwight D. Eisenhower while it operated in the Middle East.