As U.S. tensions with Iran rose last week, 17 ships from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Australia launched a major war game just 50 miles from the Iranian coast.
Smack dab in the middle of the gulf, the ships steamed together in wedge formation in the first iteration of the exercise dubbed “Unified Trident.”
HMS Ocean, a British amphibious assault ship carrying about 750 personnel, 150 of them Royal Marines, led the way.
About 500 yards behind was the French destroyer FS Forbin, and about 500 yards behind was the U.S. destroyer USS Mahan. Another 500 yards behind was the Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta. Each carried about 300 sailors.
Another destroyer, an Aegis cruiser, a supply ship, mine sweepers, patrol boats, and Coast Guard cutters made up the flanks.
The ships cast dark gray silhouettes against a light gray sky and a bluish-gray sea, which was fairly calm, though the winds started to pick up.