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Future USS Michael Monsoor and HMS Queen Elizabeth Conduct PHOTOEX

By Lt. Rob Reinheimer, PCU Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001)
Two of the world’s most technologically sophisticated warships, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), conducted a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) and RFA Tidespring (A136), a Tide-class replenishment tanker of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), Nov. 11.

Future USS Michael Monsoor and HMS Queen Elizabeth Conduct PHOTOEX ATLANTIC OCEAN " Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), and Tide-class replenishment tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tidespring (A136) conduct a photo exercise, Nov. 11. The future USS Michael Monsoor is the second ship in the Zumwalt-class of guided-missile destroyers and is transiting to San Diego. Upon arrival, Michael Monsoor will begin a post-delivery availability and undergo further testing and evaluation. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy Jan. 26, 2019, in Coronado, Calif. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The rendezvous was a reminder of the long alliance between two maritime nations.

“To come together on Veterans/Remembrance Day was a fitting way to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I,” said Capt. Scott Smith, Michael Monsoor’s commanding officer. “While we remembered our long alliance together, this day was also about the future. This was the 21st-century fleet - our nations, both forged from the sea, generate power literally and figuratively - and I cannot think of a more striking example of that force.”

DDG 1001, the newest warship in the Zumwalt-class of guided-missile destroyers, features an integrated power system (IPS) to provide electric power for propulsion and ship services. The IPS is capable of providing approximately 78 megawatts of power. This power generation is enough to meet the total ship electrical power requirements and still provide extra capacity to accommodate future weapons, computing, and sensor systems.

Queen Elizabeth also features electric propulsion, and is the largest ship ever built by the British Royal Navy. The first ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class and their first aircraft carrier in over 30 years, she marks their return to carrier strike operations. The carrier weighs in at approximately 65,000 tons, has a length of 283 meters, and has a flight deck of approximately 4.5 acres to accommodate helicopters and the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The PHOTOEX gave the ships the opportunity to work together through a series of coordinated tactical maneuvers. At one point, the ships were spaced 200 yards apart in formation.

"This was a truly exciting opportunity to practice advanced maneuvers with our international allies," said Lt. Cmdr. Omar Garcia, the Officer of the Deck aboard Michael Monsoor during the PHOTOEX. “To have these two new warships working together just made the experience that much better.”

The PHOTOEX was another example of the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries and their navies. Over the last decade, Royal Air Force pilots and Royal Navy sailors have embarked multiple U.S. Navy ships, providing them firsthand knowledge on the intricacies of flight deck operations and the coordination and teamwork required for launching and recovering aircraft during cyclical operations.

"The rendezvous provided a unique opportunity to practice our seamanship skills" said Smith. "We thank our shipmates in LASSEN for coordinating the exercise and the Royal Navy for the opportunity to come alongside"

Queen Elizabeth is currently deployed to the east coast of the United States conducting her maiden F-35B flying trials and recently completed a port visit to New York City. The next ship in the class, the HMS Prince of Wales, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020.

The future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) is the second ship in its class and is named in honor of Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. He was positioned on a rooftop when an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. Monsoor immediately leapt to his feet and threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.

Michael Monsoor is currently transiting to San Diego, and, upon arrival, will begin a post-delivery availability to undergo further testing and evaluation. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy in Coronado, Calif. Jan. 26, 2019.