The Royal Navy recently offered robust protection to the world’s largest warship in the Arctic Circle as part of collaborative security exercises in the northernmost region. The submarine chaser HMS Northumberland, Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender, and tanker RFA Tideforce, all experienced in safeguarding Britain’s aircraft carriers, partnered with the US Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 12. The group’s flagship is the colossal USS Gerald R Ford, the most massive warship ever constructed.
Joining them was the Norwegian stealth corvette, HNoMS Steil. Initially, Northumberland and Defender, renowned for their underwater warfare and air defense operations, simulated enemy forces to challenge the allied task group. Later, they transitioned to defend the aircraft carrier against anti-ship missile strikes and air attacks from US Navy F/A-18s.
To escort the Gerald R Ford, Northumberland, and Defender collaborated with the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Otto Sverdrup, cruiser USS Normandy, and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner and USS Ramage as a multinational air force converged on the task group.
This activity marked the commencement of Exercise Viking Trident, a powerful air defense drill wherein the Carrier Strike Group fended off multiple waves of ‘enemy aircraft,’ including Norwegian F-35s, US Navy F/A-18s, and US Air Force B1-B supersonic bombers.
Lieutenant Baily Denyer, one of Northumberland’s Watch Officers, shared that although he had worked with the US Navy numerous times, this was his first experience escorting a US Navy supercarrier.
HMS Northumberland operates in North Atlantic and High North, enhancing the Royal Navy’s operational capacity from the seabed to space.