Under operational control of Commander Submarine Group 7 (Guam), the USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) was previously forward deployed to Diego Garcia in support of Fifth Fleet operations. The move to Subic Bay and Seventh Fleet’s area of operations represents a refocus of US naval strength in the anticipated post-Afghanistan era.
The US Navy’s return to Subic Bay seems fully supported by the Philippines government. In addition to providing a home to visiting US Navy vessels, Subic Bay could prove to be an idea location for basing forward deployed the new littoral combat ships that are now entering the fleet.
An update to the PR disaster that resulted from USMC aircraft dropping of inert/unarmed ordnance near the Great Barrier Reef.
These will be removed by a mine hunter… possibly one tasked from the US 7th Fleet… assuming Congress doesn’t force their decommissioning… or one tasked by the Royal Australian Navy.
Report: Mine Hunter to Recover U.S. Bombs Dropped Near Great Barrier Reef
A mine hunting ship will be deployed to find four bombs dropped by two U.S. Marine AV-8B Harriers last week in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia, according to local press reports published on Tuesday.
The vessel would either come from U.S. 7th Fleet’s homeport in Japan or Australia’s Fleet Base East in Sydney, according to the report.
It is unclear is the mine ship will be a U.S. Navy Avenger class mine countermeasure ship or an Australian vessel.
Navy officials at the Pentagon did not have any additional details on the operation and could not confirm the report from the Perth Now news service.
“Dive teams have been sent to the area to try and locate the weapons, but Navy sources said it would require specialist underwater detection equipment to identify the bombs,” reported Perth Now.
The mine sweeper to find the two BDU-45 practice bombs and two unarmed GBU-12 Paveway II bombs.
“The Harriers had intended to drop the ordnance in Townshend Island Range but controllers reported the area was not clear of hazards. Due to low fuel and inability to land with the amount of ordnance they were carrying, the on scene commander determined it was necessary to designate an emergency jettison area for the ordnance,” according to a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet issued on July 20.
“The selected emergency jettison area was in a deep channel away from the reef to minimize the possibility of reef damage,” according to a statement from U.S.
“It is approximately 50 to 60 meters deep and does not pose a hazard to shipping or navigation.”
The Harriers were flying in support of the Talisman Saber 2013, a joint exercise conducted between the U.S. and Australia.
TS 13 continues with an air defence exercise.
HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) is an Adelaide class frigate (based on the US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class) and is nearing the end of her operational life. She will be replaced with a new HMAS Sydney (the fifth so-named ship) a Hobart class destroyer in 2017, providing the RAN with an enhanced air-warfare capability.
U.S., Australian Forces Collaborate on Air Defense
CORAL SEA (NNS) — The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group, Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) collaborate in an air defense exercise (ADEX) in support of exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (TS 13).
ADEXs provide combined training and validation for maritime and air operations and flex combined staffs in crisis action planning for contingency operations and humanitarian missions.
“We’re integrating the Australian forces into our air defense system to build a combined force for our nation and our allies,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rene “Sleepy” Cornejo, air warfare commander of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and air missile test commander for Commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70). “We use the air defense to protect the carrier strike group to include the air wing, which also provides defense for our surface assets.”
TS 13 is a biennial training exercise aimed at improving ADF and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force.
“The exercise allows U.S. and Australia air defense assets to execute a pre-planned response to a hostile threat,” said Lt. Bill Webb, George Washington’s tactical actions officer. “One scenario we conduct is to have our aircraft act as enemy combatants. We then intercept them using our other aircraft, ships, and Australian forces. Integrating our forces definitely makes us stronger.”
The alliance between the two nations provides ADF with access to technology and defenses that increases the capacity and strength of its forces.
“We integrated HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) this year into the strike group and for today’s exercise, we had the Royal Australian Air Force solely providing assets,” said Cornejo. “Prior to integrating Sydney, we conducted classroom training. Once we got underway, we activated Sydney as the alternate air missile defense commander. Now we’re finally conducting TS 13 and testing each other’s air and weapons capability.”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Department of Defense PIN 25139.
Exercise Talisman Sabre is a biennial joint Australian and United States military exercise. The inaugural exercise took place in 2005 and exercised have continued biennially, focusing on “regional contingencies” and the War on Terrorism.
Exercise Talisman Saber 2013 begins
More than 28,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and women will be taking to the sea, land and sky in northern Australia as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 2013.Talisman Saber is a biennial training activity jointly sponsored by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Joint Operations Command and the US Pacific Command to train the United States 7th Fleet and Australian Deployable Joint Headquarters staffs as a designated Combined Task Force.
Australian Talisman Saber 2013 spokesman Brigadier Bob Brown, said the training activity would see US and Australian forces mobilise to react to a fictional scenario.
“The scenario will be a peace enforcement mission, that sets the conditions for the task force to hand over to a United Nations peacekeeping force,” Brigadier Brown said.
“The forces will operate in military training areas in central and south-east Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Coral, Timor and Arafura seas. Shoalwater Bay Training Area will be used predominantly, with a large staging area at Defence Base Rockhampton.
“This year Talisman Saber sees further practice and progression of Defence’s emerging amphibious capability. The exercise will be the third block of training for the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment’s Amphibious Ready Element Landing Force.
“Talisman Saber is a unique and invaluable opportunity to exercise combined and joint Defence capability between Australia and the US.
“As with the previous Talisman Saber exercises, this activity is a major undertaking reflecting the Australian and US alliance and the strength of the military-to-military relationship,” Brigadier Brown said.
Approximately 21,000 US and 7000 Australian Defence Force personnel will be involved in the exercise, along with other Australian Government agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAID, Australian Federal Police, and Australian Civil-Military Centre.
The ADF has conducted a full environmental impact assessment on the Shoalwater Bay region and strong measures have been put in place for participants to respect and protect the marine environment.
Talisman Saber 2013 runs from 15 July until 6 August 2013.