UNITED KINGDOM (NNS) -- A joint forces battle group successfully completed a series of intense combined anti-submarine warfare exercises (CASEX) to officially kick off exercise Joint Warrior (JW), a multinational evolution off the coast of the United Kingdom, May 12.
USS Porter (DDG 78) and USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), together with allied counterparts HMS Lancaster (F229), HMS Argyll (F231) and the French submarine Rubis (S601) participated in the fast-paced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) drills to enhance unit cohesion and joint warfare operations during the exercise.
During the scenario-driven evolutions, each vessel played an important role in simulating and overcoming realistic submarine threats. As high-value vessel Kanawha transited the coastal waters with its guardian Porter nearby, Rubis loomed below the ocean's surface and assumed its role as a hostile enemy.
"When you are trying to transit a high-value unit safely from one point to another without being attacked, teamwork is very important," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class (SW) Sheila Dall, leading petty officer for Porter's combat department, CA division.
"There's never a dull moment when something like that is going on, especially when you're working in a different part of the world and under different rules of engagement."
With Porter, Lancaster, and Argyll all using active sonar tracking techniques, the submarine was located and prosecuted very quickly. As Porter sailed alongside Kanawha during a tactical, evening underway replenishment (UNREP), the British frigates staved off the enemy sub and prosecuted it accordingly.
"Being able to search for and prosecute a foreign submarine while working with allied NATO [North American Treaty Organization] forces prepares us well for future operations and gives us an opportunity to work in a completely new environment," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Ashley Dean.
"Stateside, we can practice, but here, we are tracking a foreign vessel in different ocean terrain and shallower water – in close proximity to land – while working around civilian boats to accomplish the mission successfully."
The allied ships, in addition to a P-3 Orion airplane and an ASW helicopter, completed almost 24 hours of CASEX drills within just 48 hours of commencing JW. Porter utilized its advanced SQQ-89 Sonar Speed suite and technologically advanced fire control warfare systems to pinpoint the sub's bearing and range throughout the drills.
In a real-life situation, the submarine would have been fiercely attacked with either over-the-side torpedoes or vertical launch anti-submarine warfare rockets (ASROC).
"Even though the drills were based on scenarios, there is a very large possibility that we will run into these situations at some point in the future," said Dean.
"It was busy, intensive training, and we came out of it successfully. A lot of our junior operators got some very valuable experience in what they are expected to accomplish."
Exercise Joint Warrior is a two-week evolution incorporating five U.S. Navy units and a host of allied nations. While all aspects of warfare training will be utilized during JW, the evolution will focus more heavily on fleet irregular warfare training (FIWT) in non-traditional warfare areas such as counterpiracy and theater security.
"CASEX familiarized us more with the NATO standard operating procedures and gave us another dimension of insight into our allies' warfare operations," said Dall.
"During Joint Warrior, we are practicing everything. We are running both surface and sub-surface drills with our allies, and we're really getting down to perfecting everything the Navy is trained to do. We are going to come out of this [exercise] well-trained, refreshed, and ready to perform."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) or the carrier strike group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.