On July 8th, he U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa announced that Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) began its northbound transit into the Black Sea to operate with NATO Allies and partners.
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet (@USNavyEurope) July 8, 2021
Spearhead-class class transport warships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.
The ship is capable of operating in austere ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank.
It is an expeditionary fast transport (EPF) and is equipped with an expansive flight deck, a load ramp capable of supporting 100 tons of weight, and a 20,000 square-foot mission bay.
EPFs have sleeping accommodations for up to 42 crew members, 104 mission personnel, and an airline-style seating for 312 people. Its aviation flight deck can support day and night flight operations for a wide variety of aircraft, including CH-53 Super Stallions.
From June 28 to July 10, the annual Sea Breeze naval exercises are held in the Black Sea. Their participants practice combat operations at sea, on land and in the air, including the landing of troops, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft warfare. The exercise involves 5,000 servicemen, 40 aircraft and 32 ships from 32 countries, including Ukraine, the United States and NATO members.
On the day of the start of the exercise, the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control insisted that the scale and aggressiveness of the 2021 Sea Breeze in the Black Sea did not contribute to security in the region.
On July 1, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Sea Breeze NATO exercise in the Black Sea was “provocative muscle flexing” and had “anti-Russian overtones.” In her opinion, the United States and its allies are turning the Black Sea into a zone of military confrontation.
At the same time, the Black Sea Fleet of Russia stated that they control the actions of the ships of NATO and other countries that participate in Sea Breeze – 2021.
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