skip to main content

US naval forces expand operations for ‘Northern Edge' Alaskan exercise

USS Zumwalt made its Exercise ‘Northern Edge' debut. (US Navy)

The recently completed ‘Northern Edge 23-1' exercise in the Alaskan High North latitudes featured new wrinkles this year, including a newly expanded exercise area, the participation of US allies, and the debut of the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) in those operations, US Navy (USN) officials confirmed.

‘Northern Edge 23-1' took place from 4 May through 19 May across the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range Complex (JPARC) and the Gulf of Alaska, with the primary operating bases being Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base.

The JPARC includes the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area (TMAA), and in December, the USN received approval to expand the training ground to, among other things, increase the benefits of the exercise.

Under an initial 2011 environmental impact statement (EIS), the TMAA had 42,146 sq n miles, John Mosher, environmental planner for the US Pacific Fleet, northwest and Alaska, told Janes . The new area approved in December included the Western Maneuver Area (WMA), which adds an additional 185,106 sq n miles.

The initial TMAA was too small for realistic training, too confining for aircraft and even more so for sea vessels, Mosher said.

“Northern Edge is a very high-end exercise,” Hudson Institute senior fellow Bryan Clark told Janes . “They test concepts for new, long-range fires. They also do a lot of EW [electronic warfare] and electromagnetic spectrum operations.”

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...