ABOARD USS PAUL HAMILTON, Pacific Ocean (NNS) -- While conducting operations off the coast of Southern California, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) joined USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Strike Group (JCSSG) in a 12-hour, multifaceted anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise.
Designed to coordinate the efforts of JCSSG's surface combatants, the active/passive tracking ASW exercise was conducted as part of JCSSG's composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). Paul Hamilton worked along side USS O'Kane (DDG 77), USS Preble (DDG 88), USS Antietam (CG 54) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, to locate and track any submarines in the area.
"Normally we work as individual ships," said Paul Hamilton's Combat Systems Officer (CSO), Lt. Cmdr. Christine O'Connell. "This gets us together as a group of ships working to find, track and possibly prosecute a submarine."
With a worldwide increase in submarine activity, effective ASW operations play a key role in naval operations.
"We need to remain proficient," said Sonar Technician (SW) 2nd Class Vincent Garner. According to the N.J., native, submarines are getting quieter and quieter with each passing day.
In order to keep up with this increasing threat, Paul Hamilton uses two systems to detect and track submarines. The first is the SQS-53C bow-mounted sonar that operates as both active and passive. The second is the SQR-19B, which is a passive sonar system that is towed behind the ship. During the exercise, three of JCSSG's surface combatants were towing the SQR-19B.
"When we go active, it's only for a short period of time," said Garner. "We usually only go active once we get a threat bearing from the tail."
According to Chief Sonar Technician (SW) Thomas Hart, this is an event that JCSSG is able to gradually increase its operability with its units, and to increase proficiency so that it may become a more capable team.
"This [exercise] helps us to know each other's capabilities and to effectively utilize [them] so that we know how to best deploy them," said the Lakewood, Colo., native. "We will know our capabilities and be able to utilize them in maximizing the protection of the forces that we have."
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