US Navy's USS Kearsarge teams up with Finnish Armed Forces

According to information published by the U.S. DoD on August 19, 2022, the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) wrapped up a highly successful bilateral training opportunity with members of the Finnish Armed Forces.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Finnish Rauma-class patrol craft FNS Porvoo, front, the San Antonio-class LPD USS Arlington, right, the Whidbey Island-class LSD USS Gunston Hall, and the Wasp-class LHD USS Kearsarge, center, sail in formation (Picture source: US DoD)

The training, which took place from Aug. 9-18 with the Finnish Navy Command in the Northern Baltic Sea and the region of Hanko, increases readiness between the close partners and demonstrates the United States and Finland’s shared goal of preserving security and stability in the Baltic region.

The two-week interoperability training immediately followed Kearsarge’s port visit to Helsinki, Finland, Aug. 5-8. While in port, Kearsarge hosted various members of Finland’s military and political leadership through a series of key leader engagements and meetings. These engagements laid the groundwork for the ensuing bilateral training.

Throughout the two-week period, U.S. and Finnish forces participated in a variety of scenarios and exercise events throughout the maritime domain. Out to sea, units participated in amphibious well deck operations, mine-countermeasure demonstrations, ship maneuvering drills, and several quick-response medical exercises, while sharing techniques and procedures and improving communication and coordination.

Ashore in the region of Hanko and across the Finnish Archipelago, personnel conducted explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) exercises 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 Aug. 17, U.S. and Finnish forces showcased their combined capabilities ashore during a distinguished visitor event in Uppiniemi. The demonstration featured U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53s, and Finnish U-700 Jehu-class landing craft conducting a choreographed ship-to-shore operation and simulated raid.

Jehu-class landing craft (also referred to as 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 patrolling and escort tasks as well as combat and battle support operations.

Jehu-class boats are 19.9 metres (65 ft) long and 4.3 metres (14 ft) wide, and have a draught of 1.1 metres (3.6 ft). Their displacement at full load is 32 tons.

The boats are powered by two Scania DI16 007 diesel engines, each with an output of 900 horsepower (670 kW), driving two Rolls-Royce 40A3 water jets.

This gives the boats a maximum speed in excess of 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) and a cruising speed of 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph) at full load. The boats have an aluminium hull and a superstructure made of composite materials, and offer a ballistic protection which is at same level or even exceeds that of the Patria Pasi APC.