CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (NNS) -- Following a five-day underway in the South China Sea, littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) returned to Changi Naval Base in Singapore, Dec. 5.
Unit-level training and aviation and shipboard operations were the primary focus of the underway, which followed a scheduled maintenance availability which began in early November.
"The crew worked very hard over the past five days to increase our operational proficiency," said Cmdr. Scott Larson, commanding officer, Coronado. "We ran drills, tested equipment, and conducted aviation operations every day during this underway, and I was very pleased with the precision the crew displayed while executing."
The crew took full advantage of the underway period by executing a variety of shipboard drills and evolutions. Each evolution provided the crew an opportunity to train and practice life-saving and emergency procedures while at sea. Man overboard drills, gunnery exercises, small boat operations, fire drills, and engineering casualty control exercises highlighted the busy and successful underway.
Additionally, the embarked aviation detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 conducted several operational tests and functional check flights on the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and two MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles.
"This proved to be a very vital underway for us," explained Lt. Cmdr. Evan Young, officer-in-charge, HSC 23 Det. 4. "We were able to capture the first Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar pictures of surrounding surface contacts with the radar-capable Fire Scout. This is a critical step in providing a recognized maritime picture for LCS, and with the combination of the Harpoon Missile, this demonstrates a very promising path to over-the-horizon targeting."
Fire Scouts complement the MH-60S by extending the ship's surface search capabilities. USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) previously deployed to 7th Fleet with an embarked Fire Scout, but Coronado is the first ship to deploy with two of on board.
Currently on a rotational deployment in support of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, Coronado is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region's littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future.
Coronado arrived in Singapore Oct. 16, following a busy operational schedule which included participation in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise off the coast of Hawaii and a Pacific Ocean transit.
On behalf of Commander, Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7 conducts advanced planning, organizes resources, and directly supports the execution of maritime exercises such as the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.
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