The crisis between Russia and Ukraine (fueled more by the Americans than by the Russians) is also one of ostentation of power. In recent days, naval units of the Northern Fleet of the Moscow Navy have entered the Mediterranean, passing the Strait of Gibraltar, and then heading towards the Black Sea.
This Russian naval activity coincided with a joint trilateral exercise (US Navy, Marine Nationale and Navy) between aircraft carrier groups in Ionian waters.
As reported by the Ministry of Defense website: "On February 6, a significant trilateral activity took place in the Ionian waters, which saw the interaction of three different aircraft carrier groups: the Italian one formed by Cavour ship and three other naval escort units, the US of the USS Harry S. Truman with four other escort units and the French one, which includes the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle and a further seven escort units plus a submarine ".
The statement continues in (almost) triumphalistic tones: "Operating in the prestigious allied multinational context characterized by the simultaneous presence at sea of three aircraft carrier units, the Italian Carrier Strike Group, under the command of Division Admiral Vincenzo Montanaro, commander of the Second Naval Division of Taranto on board the Cavour aircraft carrier, escorted by missile destroyer Andrea Doria and from FREMM frigate Marceglia, with the support of Stromboli refueling station, has carried out multiple training activities aimed at consolidating and increasing interoperability between the three allied navies in the broad spectrum of air and naval operations ".
Unfortunately, the photos of the three naval groups mentioned in the communiqué highlight the enormous imbalance (qualitative and quantitative) of the forces deployed.
The Italian defense speaks of a "carrier strike group".
The missile destroyer Doria it has no missiles to launch (apart from very few Aster-15/30) therefore practically has no anti-ship capability; the frigate Marceglia it can have only 16 VLS A50 cells (which can only be used to house missiles Aster) and a 127/64 mm gun but still with conventional ammunition (the Volcano have not yet entered service, although in a high-intensity context they would still be ineffective).
As for the "aircraft carrier" Cavour, four ancient AV-8B Harrier II Plus (who have nevertheless had a glorious career of more than thirty years) and an F-35B not yet operational would form the backbone of the carrier strike groups?
Unfortunately, the NATO JFC Command in Naples also noticed it and posted on February 9 last Twitter a message, related photo of the Cavour, with a "vaguely" ironic content.
Instead, viewing the flight deck of the French aircraft carrier De Gaulle (penultimate photo below) we counted 19 fighter-bombers Gust and two E-2Cs Hawkeye: I would say how carrier strike group not bad.
As for the USS Harry S. Truman (last photo below) better leave it alone, it would be useless even to sketch a comparison.
The communiqué ends almost in style twenty years: “The activities of these days confirm the will of the three allied navies, among the most modern and advanced in the world, to cooperate and train to ensure readiness and credibility in protecting the common objectives of peace and security.
At the end of the activities between the three aircraft carrier groups, an "exchange of squares" was organized which saw the participation of 12 young officers, non-commissioned officers and graduates of the Navy aboard the US aircraft carrier USS Truman. On the other hand, it should be emphasized that Nave Cavour was chosen as a meeting point for the admirals commanding the 3 Aircraft Carrier Groups present, demonstrating how Italy is actually a fundamental point of reference within the Mediterranean, the Mare Nostrum , especially when it comes to developing projects related to increasing interoperability between aircraft carrier groups ".
Then, according to the Ministry of Defense, the Italian Navy would be among the most advanced and modern in the world. However, we did not know that it was a sign of efficiency and modernity to have to recall senior NCOs on duty to fill the gaps between the crews, or to launch missile units without ever having launched a missile. (the hunt Caio Duilio it seems he never even threw a Teseo Mk-2 / A).
Finally, the press release identifies Italy as "Fundamental reference within the Mediterranean". In fact it should be (at present, it certainly is not), perhaps acquiring a Navy (not a Coast Guard 2.0) focused on the institutional mission.
We should overcome the "Di Paola Law" and move towards a increase in personnel (especially as regards the crews on board) as well as try to equip themselves with units and weapon systems responding to today's (and future) theaters of operation. Avoiding wasting funds on useless and expensive projects. The renunciation of nuclear technology, not only in the military field, inevitably relegates us to having only a navy of "green waters".
The "high level" operations in the naval field are the prerogative of other fleets, however we should be able - even only for some components - to be able to express good level capabilities, if only to ensure the security of our borders.
Photo: Ministry of Defense / US Navy