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PHILIPPINE SEA – Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, conducted Surface Warfare Advanced Technical Training (SWATT) exercises in the Philippine Sea from the 14th to the 23rd of January.
The exercises tested Shiloh’s, proficiency in combat capability, lethality, as well as interoperability with other nations.
Shiloh participated alongside other units including USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ship JS Ashigara (DDG 178) in a number of simulated events including small boat counters, strait transits, navigation, and weapons testing.
"SWATT was a dynamic bilateral exercise that emphasized our ability to operate with other U.S. and JMSDF units cohesively,” said Capt. Adam Cheatham, commanding officer of the Shiloh. “Interoperability is key to our mission in 7th Fleet.”
Throughout SWATT, Shiloh tested weapon systems such as the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), Mark 45 5-Inch Gun, and the Mark 38 25 mm machine gun in a series of live-fire exercises, some which were in tandem with the other ships during some of the evolutions.
“This exercise gave the crew an opportunity to utilize its combat power,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Szakal, the ship’s combat systems officer. “We want to be able to dominate and bring the lethality of the Navy where it is needed.”
Shiloh’s participation in SWATT culminated in the firing of a standard missile to a drone in the ocean on the last day. The missile was primarily controlled from the ship’s combat information center.
“It was a good feeling to hit that button and watch the missile leave that launcher,” said Fire Controlman (Aegis) 2nd Class Edwin Seeraj who stood watch at the missile supervision system in CIC. “It is good to know that your system works and that all our hours of maintenance has paid off.
The outcome of SWATT was viewed as successful by the Ashigara, which was a first-time participant.
“We improved our tactical capabilities with the U.S. Navy throughout the exercise. said Capt. Kiichiro Sakai, the captain of the Ashigara. “In this way, the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy closely work together on a regular basis to maintain and strengthen our bilateral capabilities to various contingencies.”
Throughout the last few years, the Shiloh has participated in various exercises in 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility such as Keen Sword 21 in 2020. In the summer of 2021, Shiloh’s operations shifted to 5th Fleet AOR for several months as part of Carrier Strike Group 5, which includes the CSG 5 flagship USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). During this period, Shiloh patrolled the Arabian Gulf and Arabian Sea in support of the U.S’s withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.
Shiloh is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
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