SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Swedish submarine HMS Gotland participated in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) Dec. 6-16 with Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group, off the coast of Southern California.
According to Swedish Liaison Officer Lt. Cmdr. Peter Ostbring, Gotland and her crew played a number of roles during the joint exercise, which mutually benefited the U.S. and Swedish navies by enhancing overall anti-submarine warfare (ASW) proficiencies and further strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
"Initially, [Gotland] was acting as an opposing force, and in the middle of the exercise, she acted as a green (friendly force) submarine, like a third country in a coalition doing intelligence and reconnaissance missions for the strike group," he said. "Later, she returned to being an opposing force."
Gotland's crew has participated in several exercises like this since the one-year, bilateral training efforts between the Swedish navy and U.S. Navy began in San Diego last June.
Gotland normally acts as an opposing force during training exercises against carrier and expeditionary strike groups, naval air patrols and other forces, playing a key role in enhancing the U.S. Navy's ASW capabilities.
"We are deployed here for at least one year and will conduct up to 160 training days at sea, supporting strike groups, individual ships and rescue submarines, and participating in the tests and development of new equipment," Ostbring said.
"The main purpose of adding the third dimension of a small, conventional submarine into these exercises is to help to enhance the U.S. Navy's capabilities of detecting small submarines close to shore, and at the same time, we are getting better at operating both with and against large ships that we are not used to operating with," he added.
A small number of U.S. Navy personnel routinely embark as riders and observers aboard Gotland and, in turn, the U.S. Navy also provides embarks aboard U.S. Navy vessels to Swedish Sailors. These embarks allow them a firsthand look at the day-to-day operations of a ship at sea.
Ostbring had the unique opportunity to participate in one of these embarks during this recent exercise, and said he was impressed with the overall operations on the carrier.
"I've never been on an aircraft carrier before, and when the captain asked me what my impression was, I could only think of one word - cool," Ostbring said.
"It's a really big ship with a lot of people - very efficient, very nice crew. Of course, seeing some of the things I've never seen before, like flight operations at sea and observing the DESERON (destroyer squadron) staff and how they coordinate the protection of the carrier, opened my eyes to see what a carrier is and what happens on board," he added.
Over the next several months, Gotland will continue training with the U.S. fleet, focusing on integrated ASW exercises that enable all components of the Navy's ASW forces - air, surface and subsurface - to test and assess their tactics, doctrine and ASW education. Likewise, Gotland will continue to gain training experience and enhance interoperability while participating in exercises with U.S. forces.
Working together, the United States and Sweden are fostering multinational interoperability to combat security threats.
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