According to information released by the United States DoD on August 19, 2022, the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) concluded a highly successful bilateral training opportunity with members of the Finnish Army Forces.
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Finnish Rauma-class patrol vessel FNS Porvoo, front, San Antonio-class LPD USS Arlington, right, Whidbey Island-class LSD USS Gunston Hall and Wasp-class LHD USS Kearsarge, center, sail in formation (Image source: US Department of Defense)
The training, which took place from August 9 to 18 with the Finnish Navy Command in the Northern Baltic Sea and Hanko region, increases readiness among close partners and demonstrates the common goal of states States and Finland to preserve security and stability in the Baltic region.
The two-week interoperability training immediately followed the Kearsarge port visit to Helsinki, Finland, August 5-8. While in port, Kearsarge hosted various members of Finland’s military and political leadership through a series of engagements and meetings of key leaders. These engagements laid the foundation for the bilateral training that followed.
Throughout the two-week period, U.S. and Finnish forces participated in a variety of scenarios and exercises throughout the maritime domain. At sea, the units participated in amphibious operations on the shaft deck, mine countermeasures demonstrations, ship maneuvering drills and several rapid response medical drills, while sharing techniques and skills. procedures and improving communication and coordination.
Ashore in the Hanko area and across the Finnish archipelago, personnel conducted drills in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel. Members also participated in live-fire training and exchanged valuable skills and tactics with their Finnish counterparts.
On August 17, U.S. and Finnish forces showcased their combined capabilities ashore at a Distinguished Visitors event in Uppiniemi. The demonstration included United States Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53s and Finnish U-700 Jehu-class landing craft conducting a choreographed ship-to-shore operation and a simulated raid.
The Jehu-class landing craft (also known as the U-700 class) are a class of military transport vessels used by the Finnish Navy. Manufactured by Marine Alutech under the designation Watercat M18 AMC, the boats can perform a multitude of tasks ranging from troop transport and landing operations to patrol and escort duties as well as combat operations and combat support.
Jehu-class boats are 19.9 meters (65 ft) long and 4.3 meters (14 ft) wide, and have a draft of 1.1 meters (3.6 ft). Their displacement at full load is 32 tons.
The boats are powered by two Scania DI16 007 diesel engines, each rated at 900 horsepower (670 kW), driving two Rolls-Royce 40A3 waterjets.
This gives the boats a maximum speed of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) and a cruising speed of 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph) when fully loaded. The boats have an aluminum hull and superstructure made of composite materials, and offer ballistic protection that is on par with or even exceeds that of the Patria Pasi APC.