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Exercise Black Widow 2020 Kicks off in the Atlantic

17 September 2020

From Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Tolbert, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Navy aircraft, surface ships and submarines will participate in Exercise Black Widow 2020 in the North Atlantic Sept. 12-18.

ATLANTIC OCEAN - U.S. Navy aircraft, surface ships and submarines will participate in Exercise Black Widow 2020 in the North Atlantic Sept. 12-18.

During Exercise Black Widow our Fleet warfighters employ, hone, and evaluate tactics, techniques, and procedures to enhance our readiness for real world operations, with specific focus on advancing our theater undersea warfare advantage in a multi-domain environment. This exercise will allow us to develop new doctrine and innovative tactics that address the capabilities of our near-peer competitors across the range of missions we expect to encounter in major combat operations.

This year’s participants include the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS McFaul (DDG 74), a Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, a Los-Angeles class fast-attack submarine, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadrons 46 and 72.

This marks the first time U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F) and Commander, Submarine Group (SUBGRU) 2 will lead the force.

“The reestablishment of Submarine Group 2 enables the Navy and our Allies to finely tune our efforts in this resurgent battlespace, and reinforces the critical trans-Atlantic link,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. “Exercises like Black Widow give the undersea force a venue to showcase how we are agile, persistent, flexible, interoperable, and resilient.”

Participating units will refine communication techniques between platforms and simulate real-word application to enhance the lethality of the team as one cohesive fighting force. Black Widow also provides a chance for an increased focus on training in anti-submarine warfare on multiple platforms to enhance strategies and heighten the combat readiness of the fleet.

“Black Widow is a high-end undersea warfighting exercise that brings together Navy aircraft, surface ships, and submarines to rehearse our unique undersea warfare capabilities, while refining and innovating multi-domain tactics and communication,” said Vice Adm. Daryl L. Caudle, Commander, Submarine Forces. “We train like we fight, and strive for innovation, development, and improvement across all spectrums of warfare. To maintain superiority, we must be more agile in concepts, geography and technology.”

During exercise Black Widow, SUBGRU 2 will work for C2F and SUBLANT, and in cooperation with Undersea Warfare Development Command in Groton, Connecticut, overseeing the tactical operations of all assets to increase the lethality of our fighting forces by forming one cohesive unit.

“Black Widow is a graduate level undersea warfare, building team mastery to ensure superior lethality and undersea dominance in the Atlantic,” said Rear. Adm. Jim Waters, Commander, Submarine Group 2. “I am proud of our team’s ability to work together throughout the unforgiving undersea environment as one effective fighting force in defense of our homeland.”

Exercise Black Widow is conducted in the Atlantic to advance the art of theater undersea warfare in a multi-domain environment in response to the rise of great power competition. Our submarines, surface ships, ASW capable aircraft, and other undersea capabilities work together in a dynamic environment to prepare our teams for challenging operations against near-peer competitors. Our persistent presence in the Western Atlantic is foundational to our security strategy in defense of the homeland.


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