USS Louisville Completes Six-Month Deployment to Western Pacific Region

USS Louisville Completes Six-Month Deployment to Western Pacific Region

Posted on Aug 10th, 2012 with tags ,.

USS Louisville Completes Six-Month Deployment to Western Pacific Region

Friends and family of the crew members from USS Louisville (SSN 724) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) region, Aug. 8.

“I am extremely proud of the crew of the Louisville. They accomplished tasks in support of both theater and national interests with great enthusiasm and skill,” said Cmdr. Lee Sisco, USS Louisville commanding officer. “This was the most rewarding and successful deployment out of the seven WESTPAC deployments I’ve conducted.”

While deployed, Louisville executed a wide range of operations in support of Commander Seventh Fleet. In addition, she conducted several training exercises, contributing to the nation’s strategic posture in the Western Pacific region. Louisville also strengthened relationships with Japan during an exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.

During the deployment, 26 Sailors qualified in submarines and are now entitled to wear the submarine warfare insignia, also referred to as “Dolphins”, after completing a rigorous qualification process that included in-depth understanding of submarine construction and operations, and practical assessments of the Sailor’s ability to combat a wide range of casualties that could be encountered while onboard the submarine. A majority of the crew also completed advanced qualifications, including Engineering Watch Supervisor, Diving Officer of the Watch and Chief of the Watch. These qualifications provide greater watch bill flexibility and help ensure that Louisville’s performance will remain strong.

“We left on WESTPAC with a fairly junior crew but, they worked hard to keep the ship clean and stowed, and rapidly became qualified for senior watch stations,” said Master Chief Fire Control Technician (SS) Joseph Bransfield, Louisville Chief of the Boat.

Despite steaming over 40,000 nautical miles in support of the nation’s defense, the crew enjoyed several memorable port visits which included Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; Sepangar, Malaysia and Subic Bay, Philippines.

“Within the last six months I have been able to experience many different cultures during each port visit which has been both exciting and humbling,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Erick Hahn.

During their Malaysia visit, Louisville and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) hosted a reception for Secretary of Defense, Ray Mabus, and Malaysian Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar. This event directly contributed to further cooperation between the two countries’ respective navies according to Sisco.

Louisville is the fourth United States ship to bear the name in honor of the city of Louisville, Ky. She is the 35th nuclear powered fast-attack submarine of the Los Angeles-class design.


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Naval Today Staff, August 10, 2012; Image: US Navy



Another milestone for Navy’s new jet as the F35 drops its first bomb


Another milestone for Navy’s new jet as the F35 drops its first bomb
10 August 2012

The Navy’s next-generation strike fighter has dropped a bomb for the first time as it completed another successful test milestone in the USA.

A 1,000lb practice bomb was dropped from the internal bay of an F35B – the jump jet which will be the mainstay of Royal Navy aircraft carrier operations from the end of the decade, over a range off the Eastern Seaboard.

Picture: Layne Laughter, Lockheed Martin

TOP bombing.

This is the very first time the Fleet Air Arm’s next-generation jet has released a weapon in flight.

Flying at 400kts (460mph) some 4,200ft over the Atlantic, an F35 Joint Strike Fighter releases a 1,000lb practice bomb from its internal bomb bay and drops it into the ocean off an American test range.

It’s the first time any of the three different variants of the F35 – there’s a traditional land-based version, a ‘cats and traps’ carrier version for the US Navy and, for the Fleet Air Arm, RAF, US Marine Corps and Italy, a jump jet.

And it fell to the jump jet version, the F35B, to carry out the crucial test of the first weapons release – a milestone in the enormous Anglo-American programme as testing increasingly moves on to ‘fighting’ the aircraft, rather than flying it.

The F35 is classed as the world’s ‘fifth generation’ jet fighter – the Gloster Meteor and Messerschmitt 262 were first, the Harrier third, while the RAF’s Typhoons are fourth generation.

Its advanced technology means aircraft can ‘share’ information – a pilot can see everything his wingman can see – while cameras all around the jet give the pilot 360˚ visibility thanks to a hi-tech helmet.

The Lightning II is also capable of reaching more than one and a half times the speed of sound and carrying twice the payload of a Harrier.

And where Britain’s much-loved jump jet carried bombs externally, that’s not the case on its successor.

“Using an internal weapons bay speaks to how much capability the Joint Strike Fighter is going to bring to the troops,” said Lockheed test pilot Dan Levin.

“Stealth, fifth generation avionics, and precision weapons, coupled with the flexible mission capability of the short take-off and vertical landing F35B is going to be huge for our warfighters.”

It was Mr Levin’s honour to drop the first weapon – for the record it was a GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (or JDAM – in simple parlance, a guided bomb).

An aerial weapons separation test checks the proper release of the weapon from its carriage system and the trajectory away from the aircraft.

It was the culmination of a significant number of prerequisite tests, including ground fit checks, ground pit drops and environment flights to ensure the system was working properly before the live drop.

The data gathered by the first bomb release is now being analysed by experts at Pax River, the US Navy’s test pilot school southeast of Washington.

After this test further work begins with the F35’s precision weapons, allowing pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.

The UK has bought three prototype F35s with the possibility of a fourth being ordered. Around one seventh of the work on the jets is carried out by firms in the UK – some 130 companies are involved in the state-of-the-art aircraft.

Lightning II will be operational from land-based airfields in the UK from 2018 – probably RAF Marham – when it will also begin flight trials off carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The HMAS Larrakia and HMAS Ararat reached the vessel – which was 136 nautical miles north of Christmas Island – at 7pm on Wednesday.

Asylum surge pressuring navy

August 10, 2012 – 4:42PM
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Judith Ireland

High statistics for energy and asylum

Tony Abbott at odds with senior Libs over power prices. The biggest asylum boat in more than a decade is intercepted in Australian waters.

A BOAT crowded with the largest number of asylum seekers to arrive in Australia in more than a decade has been picked up near Christmas Island as the government concedes boat arrivals are placing the navy under increased pressure and it confirms vessels are literally cracking.

The Home Affairs Minister told reporters in Sydney today that the navy had found cracks in the engine room of the HMAS Armidale – the part of the boat that comes under the most pressure in rough weather – and minor cracks in two other patrol boats.

He said that Defence was undertaking a structural engineering analysis of all it’s 14 patrol boats and that it would complete a repair plan by October.

HMAS Ararat, pictured, and HMAS Larrakia responded to an emergency call near Christmas Island.

HMAS Ararat, pictured, and HMAS Larrakia responded to an emergency call near Christmas Island.

“These boats have been working hard and they’ve been working hard in rough weather,” Mr Clare said today.  

“They wouldn’t have to work as hard if our politicians would just work together.”

But Mr Clare said he would not “pre-empt” the navy analysis by confirming that asylum seekers rescues in particular were damaging the patrol boats.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen conceded this morning that rescuing asylum seekers was placing increased operational pressure on the navy, when he was questioned about reports that navy patrol boats were literally cracking under the strain.

 “Of course, that’s the case, but they’d also be doing other work as well,’’ he told ABC Radio.

This comes as a boat carrying the largest number of asylum seekers to arrive in Australia in more than a decade was picked up near Christmas Island.

Two navy patrol vessels went to the aid of the boat, which had 211 people aboard.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a distress call from someone on the latest boat at about 3pm on Wednesday.

The passenger said the boat was low in the water.

The HMAS Larrakia and HMAS Ararat reached the vessel – which was 136 nautical miles north of Christmas Island – at 7pm on Wednesday.

The weather conditions were not good enough for the navy to board the distressed boat, so it was taken under tow. By daybreak, the passengers were transferred to the navy vessels and arrived at Christmas Island last night.

The large number rescued suggests passengers and people smugglers have not been deterred by the death of about 90 people in June, when another crowded boat capsized.
Mr Clare said today that people were “hurrying” to get onto boats before parliament introduced any disincentives to do so.

More than 7300 asylum seekers have arrived by boat this year, more than half of them in the past two months. This is compared to about 4500 people for the whole of 2011.

Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Coalition was incredibly concerned about the number of people getting into boats.  

“The record level of arrivals to Australia is putting increasing strain on our border protection,” he told reporters in Sydney.  

Mr Morrison said that government should reinstate the Coalition’s border protection polices that include temporary protection visas, offshore processing on Nauru and turning boats around where it is “safe to do so”.

“This government is in a deadlock of their own fabrication,” he said, adding that it was only Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “stubborn pride” that prevented her from taking the Coalition’s advice.

The Christmas Island detention centre is nearly full and authorities have to fly people to the mainland.

Detention centres on the mainland are also under strain, despite more than 3200 asylum seekers having been released into the community on bridging visas.

This latest arrival also comes as MPs are poised to resume the heated debate on asylum seekers when Parliament returns next week. This will include consideration of the Houston Report, which cabinet is scheduled to look at on Monday.

After Parliament failed six weeks ago to agree on a policy to try to stem the record arrivals of asylum seekers by boat, Prime Minister Julia Gillard asked three eminent Australians to spend the winter break consulting all parties and to report to Parliament, before it resumed, on a preferred policy.

The group – led by former Defence chief Angus Houston – has prepared a range of options containing the various policy ideas of Labor, the Greens and the Coalition. It then cites the options it believes will be the most effective and it is understood it favours the government’s hardline approach, such as the Malaysia plan.

Parliament resumes next Tuesday. With the Greens steadfastly opposed to sending asylum seekers offshore, the government will try to pressure the Coalition.

The Coalition have repeatedly said it will not support the Malaysia plan and that they don’t need a committee to tell it what its policy is.

Mr Clare today implored the parliament to address the asylum seeker issue.

“The people of Australia have had a gutful of this,” he said. “[They’re] yelling at the Australian parliament, saying ‘just fix this’”.

– with Daniel Flitton

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HMS Protector to visit Cambridge

 4:28AM, FRI 10 AUG 2012

Cambridge to welcome Royal Navy crew

– last updated Fri 10 Aug 2012

 HMS Protector to visit CambridgeHMS Protector to visit Cambridge Photo: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cambridge might be more used to punts, but it is about to welcome the crew of a Royal Navy ship.

The HMS Protector, the Navy’s 5000-tonne Antarctic patrol vessel is to visit the region on Monday – marking her first visit to her affiliated city of Cambridge since the formal link was established a year ago.

The ship will dock at nearby Ipswich on Friday August 10 at approximately 6pm, remaining in port until next Wednesday morning.

During her time at the Suffolk town, HMS Protector’s crew will spend a full day in its twin city of Cambridge visiting both East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) Milton facility and the British Antarctic Survey headquarters, with which she already has a close working relationship.

On Saturday evening, the Commanding Officer, Captain Peter Sparkes, will hold a small reception and capability demonstration for invited guests, including civic dignitaries and affiliate representatives from Cambridge.

This is followed on Monday by a visit to their affiliated charity, EACH at Milton, Cambridge.

It is a chance for crew members to meet the staff and youngsters and to present money raised by everyone on the ship during the recent deployment and will be shared among EACH projects.

Also on Monday, the crew will continue their visits in the city at the headquarters of the British Antarctic Survey.

“It is both a real pleasure and a genuine privilege to be able to bring HMS Protector to Ipswich and spend time in our newly affiliated city of Cambridge,” said Captain Sparkes. “The visit presents an excellent opportunity for us to build on the strong ties that we have already established.

“We are very much looking forward to learning more about EACH and also to visiting the British Antarctic Survey “

HMS York and HMS Edinburgh for sale on Navy website

HMS York and HMS Edinburgh for sale on Navy website

HMS YorkHMS York served in the 2003 Iraq war and supported operations during the 2011 Libyan revolution

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The Royal Navy destroyer HMS York is to be sold-off by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD’s Disposal Services Authority has put the ship and another Type 42 destroyer, HMS Edinburgh, up for sale on its website.

HMS York is affiliated to the city and its crew have regularly visited the region for parades and other events over the years.

The MoD said it was planning to sell the two vessels to another government.

HMS York entered service in 1985 and was deployed in the 2003 Iraq war.

In 2011 it supported operations during the revolution in Libya.

HMS Edinburgh also served in the 2003 Iraq war and underwent a £17.5m refit in 2010.

The ships are being sold as part of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review announced in 2010, which will see the Royal Navy’s surface fleet cut from 23 to 19 ships.

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USS Emory S Land Conducts MEDEVAC

USS Emory S Land Conducts MEDEVAC

Posted on Aug 9th, 2012 with tags .

USS Emory S Land Conducts MEDEVAC

USS Emory S Land (AS 39) conducted an emergency medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) for a crewmember Aug. 7.

At approximately 12:00 p.m., the crewmember, who had suffered a heart attack, was lowered by stretcher into a tug boat arranged by the Glenn Marine Group of Malaysia, a ship’s husbandry group who is a sub contractor of On Call International, the medical support group for Military Sealift Command abroad.

Lt. Shalimar Enright, Land’s undersea medical officer, assisted the transfer of the patient and returned to the Land via Navy fast boat provided by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

“Although it was an unfortunate occurrence, this MEDEVAC served to demonstrate the strong ties between the U.S. and Malaysian navies,” said Enright. “We worked together in a safe and effective manner, and we were able to save a shipmate’s life in the process”.

The patient was transported ashore in Malaysia where he will receive emergency medical treatment.

“We had great support from our operational chain of command in quickly coordinating this medical evacuation,” said Capt. Paul Savage, Land’s commanding officer. “The mission was a success because of the team efforts of our embassy team in Malaysia and our Navy’s good relationship with the Royal Malaysian Navy.”

Land, homeported in Diego Garcia, is underway in the South China Sea and on an extended deployment conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.


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Naval Today Staff, August 9, 2012; Image: Wikimedia


HNLMS Rotterdam Joins NATO Counterpiracy Operation

HNLMS Rotterdam Joins NATO Counterpiracy Operation

Posted on Aug 9th, 2012 with tags .

HNLMS Rotterdam Joins NATO Counterpiracy Operation

As of August 4th, 2012, HNLMS Rotterdam is the flagship of NATO counterpiracy operation Ocean Shield.

The Landing Platform Dock took over the tasks of air defence and command frigate HNLMS Evertsen in the waters off the coast of Somalia.

Along with the Rotterdam’s 320-strong crew, Commodore Ben Bekkering and his staff will also be based on board the Dutch ship. Bekkering has been in command of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 flotilla since January.


The 166-metres long LPD offers enough space for extra units and materiel. Especially for this mission, two Cougar helicopters from Defence Helicopter Command have been stationed on the ship. Royal Netherlands Army units on board gather intelligence with the help of the Scan Eagle unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The Army also provides medical staff for the on-board hospital of the Rotterdam. Furthermore, there is a hydrographical-meteorological unit on board and there are 8 smaller vessels, including 4 very fast launches. The latter are used by teams of the Marine Corps to board suspect ships.


In order to enhance security in the recommended shipping route through the Gulf of Aden, navy ships participating in Operation Ocean Shield patrol the waters off Somalia. They discourage and disrupt groups of pirates that operate at distances of up to 750 kilometres off the coast. Every year between 20,000 and 30,000 ships, including UN food transports, pass through the Gulf of Aden.



Naval Today Staff, August 9, 2012; Image: Defensie


USA: Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group Completes COMPUTEX

Posted on Aug 9th, 2012 with tags .

Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group Completes COMPUTEX

The Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (PEL ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed its composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of California, Aug. 7.

The PEL ARG consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious landing dock ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20).

“COMPTUEX provided an opportunity for the PEL ARG and the 15th MEU to solidify our relationship and increase familiarity with each other,” said Cmdr. Brian Boycourt, Peleliu’s operations officer. “Because of dedication to continuous integration, both organizations have a stronger understanding of each other’s missions and procedures.”

The exercise tested the ARG ships’ specific warfare areas and missions, prior to an upcoming deployment.

Planners designed the scenarios to be as realistic as possible to ensure that the ARG is capable of conducting maritime security and flexibility.

These missions were evaluated over many days while the ARG performed its duties in response to continuous, ever changing scenarios,” said Boycourt.

The scenarios included multiple restricted course maneuverings where the ARG’s self-defense forces integrated with Marine weapons teams as well as helicopters from the aviation combat element. Additionally, the complex exercise included non-combatant evacuation operations, a mechanized amphibious raid, an island seizure, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, casualty evacuation operations and several Marine insertions.

Flight and well deck operations also played their roles during the exercise by transporting equipment and personnel on helicopters and utility landing craft.

As Deck department, we played a valuable asset to the mission at hand,” said Ensign Brandley Sinoc, Peleliu’s boatswain. “With combine efforts, we worked with the combat cargo team to make sure their manifest for personnel and heavy equipment was accurate.

The Air department directly supported the 15th MEU and ACE by conducted 1,061 launches and recoveries, 440 aircraft moves, and 201 elevator evolutions while spending 209 hours at flight quarters. The flagship served as a staging platform for launch and recovery of aircraft. This allowed the Navy/Marine Corps team flexibility for assaults and recovery of simulated injured personnel.

These exercises continued to improve upon existing relationships and skills within the Navy/Marine Corps team and demonstrated the ability for an ARG to project power ashore,” said Capt. Monte Ulmer, Peleliu’s air boss. “I could not be happier with the effort, efficiency, and skill with which our Sailors performed during a very demanding COMPTUEX.”

To prepare for COMPUTEX, the ships reviewed operational processes, material and training readiness and areas for improvement. Warfare commanders stressed integrated training and learns lessoned from previous deployments.

“COMPTUEX allowed us to practice our pre-planned responses to various situations that we might encounter on deployment, and we were provided the opportunity to practice numerous missions that we could be called on to perform during deployment,” said Boycourt.

COMPTUEX promotes Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet’s training focus of providing training necessary for an effective global Navy in order to strengthen the ability to respond to crisis and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.


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Naval Today Staff, August 9, 2012; Image: Wikimedia


Sailors Assigned to USS Abraham Lincoln Prepare for Return to Life Ashore

Posted on Aug 7th, 2012 with tags .

Sailors Assigned to USS Abraham Lincoln Prepare for Return to Life Ashore

Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) attended a series of Return and Reunion training classes July 23 to Aug. 3, following eight months at sea and just prior to the ship’s arrival in Norfolk.

The Norfolk Fleet and Family Services office coordinated classes focusing on financial well-being, family reintegration, and building healthy relationships with both children and spouses.

Fleet and Family Services offered the classes to ease service members’ transitions to home life following an extended deployment period.

Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Kyle L. Smith said he gained insight into some of the changes he will face after an eight-month deployment.

“The instructors did not sugarcoat what to expect when we are with our loved ones at home,”Smith said. “They talked to us about how to deal with the different levels of stress and anger that are to be expected.”

In addition to the relationship classes, Virginia State Police Trooper Mark S. Walden visited the ship to educate Sailors about Virginia laws and how they apply to service members. Walden covered topics ranging from vehicle safety to newer state laws and existing laws he said many people aren’t aware of.

“As a retired boatswain’s mate, I understand exactly where every Sailor on board is at right now,” said Walden. “My suggestion would be to ride around with someone for the first few days so you can have time to acclimate yourself to traffic and the rules of the road. Norfolk is far stricter on state laws than other cities because of the high military traffic that comes through the city.”

Lincoln departed its homeport of Everett, Wash., Dec. 7, for a deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th fleet areas of responsibility (AORs) and to change homeports from Everett to Norfolk for a periodic refueling complex overhaul.

Lincoln deployed as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 9, which was also comprised of Carrier Air Wing 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, composed of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).


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Naval Today Staff, August 7, 2012; Image: US Navy


SSBN Smolensk Launched at Zvezdochka Ship Repair, Russia

Posted on Aug 7th, 2012 with tags .

SSBN Smolensk Launched at Zvezdochka Ship Repair, Russia

Project 949A Antei nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Smolensk was launched at Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center, a source in Russian defense industry told Central Navy Portal.

Slipway phase of repair has been completed. In the night of Aug 5, SSBN Smolensk (K-410) was put afloat.

SSBN Smolensk was laid up for technical recovery in Sept 2011. Most of hull and dock works were done during the slipway phase of repair. After launching, the overhaul will be continued afloat.

Shipwrights of Zvezdochka will reload reactor core and carry out other repair works on the sub’s hardware. Upon termination of repairs, service life of SSBN Smolensk will be 3 years longer.

The submarine is to be recommissioned in the summer of 2013.


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Russian Navy, August 7, 2012; Image: Wikimedia

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