Mid Atlantic… USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Mahan (DDG 72) and USNS Kanawa (T-AO 196)

131115-N-ED185-573 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 15, 2013) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawa (T-AO 196) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72), transit the Atlantic Ocean before a vertical replenishment at sea. VERTREPs allow larger ships to sustain themselves at sea while deployed by moving cargo between ships via helicopter. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian G. Reynolds/Released)

Destroyers are the backbone of the fleet

SECNAV Mabus says destroyers are the backbone of the US Navy’s fleet. Amen to that. So now here’s a thought… the Arleigh Burke class is back in production (Flight III) and they’re a no-nonsense workhorse… exactly the kind of thing that other navies should want… and if, after this so-called forgone conclusion of Scots independence (an’ good luck to ’em with that) then there’s no obligation for the Royal Navy to purchase ships from foreign Scottish yards… so why not by Arleigh Burke DDGs? Six, right off the bat. Scotland can have its independence cake and eat it.

Secretary of the Navy Visits Sailors in Souda Bay

Souda Bay, Greece (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) while the ship was moored in Souda Bay, Greece, Nov. 15.

While aboard, he promoted six Ramage Sailors, presented Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pins to seven others, reenlisted one additional Sailor and briefly toured the ship.

110624-N-UH963-146 ATHENS, Greece (June 24, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus addresses Sailors during an all-hands call aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin S. O’Brien/Released

He also held an all-hands call, emphasizing the importance of having the right platforms in the Fleet, the people who serve aboard those platforms and the value of building lasting partnerships.

Mabus then answered questions from the audience and thanked them for their efforts in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.

“I cannot tell you how vital the work that you are doing is,” said Mabus, “not only to our country, but to our partners in the region.”

Mabus also said there is a tremendous demand for Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, like USS Ramage, due to its adaptability to a wide range of missions.

“These DDGs are the backbone of our fleet,” said Mabus. “They provide us with one of the most flexible, one of the most lethal, platforms our Navy has ever had.”

“What these platforms give us, and more importantly what the people aboard these platforms give us, is presence. That’s what the Navy can uniquely provide,” he said. “We’re not just in the right place at the right time, we’re in the right place all the time.”

USS Ramage, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Mabus’ visit to the ship is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.

South Korean Navy takes delivery of 12th Gumdoksuri-class patrol boat

Maybe the translation from Korean to English isn’t up to snuff, or maybe the Koreans have delusions of grandeur, but these Gumdoksuri/PKG hulls rate as a corvette at best. A up-gunned OPV if nothing else. Jeez! This pup only displaces 500 tons. A true destroyer like the Type 45 displaces 8,500 and an Arleigh Burke displaces 9,200. Still… nice to have domestic yards producing a steady stream of vessels for a government that sees the importance of naval power (British govt take note!).

S. Korean Navy receives its 12th guided-missile destroyer

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) — The South Korean Navy has taken delivery of its 12th domestically built guided-missile destroyer, which will join patrol missions to defend the nation’s shoreline and harbor waters, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Monday.

STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. delivered the newest PKG-class (Patrol Killer, Guided Missile) patrol ship to the Navy command, located in Jinhae, some 410 kilometers south of Seoul.

The 450-ton high-speed ship can sail at a top speed of 40 knots and is equipped with anti-ship missiles that have a range of 140 kilometers.

It is also fitted with 76mm and 40mm guns, and can accommodate 40 crew members.

The ship will join Navy patrol missions after two months of deployment, the DAPA said.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/11/04/43/0301000000AEN20131104001100315F.html

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US Navy and Royal Navy complete anti-submarine exercise in Mediterranean

Vessels involved in the multinational exercise included the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gravely (DDG 107), the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon (D35) and Traflalgar-class submarine HMS Talent (S92).

USS Stout Works with Royal Navy to Improve Anti-Submarine Warfare

Release Date: 10/18/2013 1700 Story 647
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray, USS Stout (DDG 55) Public Affairs

MEDITERRANEAN SEA- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) completed a Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise (CASEX) with the Royal Navy, Oct. 15-16.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 16, 2013) – Cmdr. Andrew Fitzpatrick, executive officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55), uses binoculars to keep watch during a coordinated anti-submarine warfare exercise with the USS Gravely (USS 107) and the British Royal Navy air-defense destroyer HMS Dragon (D35). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released)

The exercise also included USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gravely (DDG 107), the Trafalager Class Nuclear Submarine HMS Talent (592), the Royal Navy airdefense destroyer HMS Dragon (D35), and aircraft support from both countries.

“This particular exercise was called a blocking evolution,” said combat information center officer Lt. j.g. Luqman Haskett. “We did not know where the submarine was, but we knew where they wanted to go. So the goal was to try and track them and prevent them from reaching their desired location.”

The surface ships and aircraft utilized simulated weapons and tactics to locate and execute the target. The exercise took place over a span of 12 hours. Each ship and aircraft was responsible for monitoring a specific area to maintain contact with the submarine.

We were able to sharpen our skills so that we are prepared if a real scenario arises,” said Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Emily Sandomierski. “Some of us are just out of school, and this gave us a real life experience and helped show us the importance of what we do.”

The exercise, designed to assist ships in tracking and eliminating enemy submarine contacts and to assist the submarine in remaining undetected, increases knowledge and proficiency for anti-submarine warfare.

“The exercise went really well. It was a great opportunity to work with NATO forces and combine aircraft and surface ships to combine tracking on a live submarine, which we don’t get to do very often,” said operations officer, Lt. Jeffrey Applebaugh. “It was a good exercise and educational for our Sailers. Stout did well, and we had the most contact time out of everyone by a significant margin.”

Stout, Barry, and Gravely, all homeported in Norfolk, Va., are on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operation.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 16, 2013) – The British Royal Navy Trafalager Class Nuclear Submarine HMS Talent (S92) participates in a coordinated anti-submarine warfare exercise. The exercise also involved U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class Guided-missile destroyers, USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gravely (DDG 107) pulls along side the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) for a photo exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released)

http://www.c6f.navy.mil/article647center.html

PHOTEX: USS Gravely (DDG 107) shoots MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber gun

131011-N-NU634-185 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 11, 2013) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) shoots the MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun during a pre-aim calibration fire. Gravely, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Darien G. Kenney/Released)

Captain Phillips, review

I finally got around to watching ‘Captain Phillips’ today.

I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10. Likely an 8, but I’ll need to watch it again and catch details that I’m sure to have missed.

The US Navy was presented very professionally. There was none of the ‘all-singing-all-dancing elite ninja bullshit’ that Hollywood normally goes in for. Just low-lit ops rooms and all emotion kept in check. Just as it should be.

The USS Truxtun (DDG 103) stood in as a filming location for fellow Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), but the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) played herself in the movie.

Aerial surveillance photo of the USS Bainbridge while apprehending Somali pirates, via ScanEagle UAV.

The Maersk Alabama was portrayed in the film by her sister-ship the Alexander Maersk and the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean (shout out to Malta!) stood-in for the pirate-infested waters of the Horn of Africa.

At anchor at Mombasa,Kenya during FBI investigation after the hijacking. Via shipspotting.com.

Tom Hanks delivered a tight performance as Captain Rich Phillips. That restraint is what made the emotion at the end of the film very believable. He’s got two Academy Awards. This could earn him a third.

Solid performances from the actors portraying the Alabama’s crew. No gung-ho Chuck Norris b/s and chants of “USA! USA!” which would have made the flick unbearable. Just a solid portrayal of sober professionals and a frank portrayal of the true threat that pirates present. That merchant mariners take these risks every day is remarkable. And frightening. And should make you thankful that they do.

Which brings me to the pirates, and particularly to Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, the hijack leader. (1) Showing us Somalia early-on as an utter toilet was a piece of genius. Yes, they’re pirates, but now we know how and why. (2) If Barkhad Abdi doesn’t win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor then there is no justice in Hollywood. His performance was incredible. He brings pathos to a character that could otherwise be a two-dimensional cartoon “bad guy.” Muse is doomed from the outset. And he is aware of his doom. Which is utterly tragic. As is, of course, Somalia.

Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, Somali hijacker leader.

Go and see it. Definitely recommended.

US Navy maintains carrier strike group within range of Syria

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Shoup (DDG 86) are all on their way home. Escorts for USS Nimitz (CVN-68) comprising Carrier Strike Group 11 now include the cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG-56) and the destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). CSG-11 is currently assigned to the Fifth Fleet NAVCENT area of responsibility.

As Syria crisis fades, U.S. ships remain within striking distance

Sailors from the aircraft carrier Nimitz participate in a search-and-rescue drill in the Red Sea last month. The ship is in its seventh month of deployment. (MC3 Raul Moreno Jr. / Navy)

The simmering Syrian crisis is driving fleet operations higher as a strike force of two flattops and 11 ships stand by in case the disarming of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons breaks down.

The Navy has amassed and maintained a considerable flotilla in the five weeks since the crisis first broke. The threat of imminent strikes brought Syria and its international partner, Russia, to the negotiating table and led to the present agreement, where United Nations weapons experts oversee the destruction of chemical weapons caches.

With the strikes no longer imminent, the Navy has sent home ships that had been close to the end of their deployment, while still leaving a sizable force nearby. Indeed, the crisis has ticked the fleet’s operations pace temporarily higher, with two carriers patrolling in or near 5th Fleet — a pace that has strained the fleet in recent years.

The aircraft carrier Nimitz is patrolling the Red Sea in its seventh month of deployment, while four of its escorts are headed home: the cruiser Princeton and destroyers William P. Lawrence, Stockdale and Shoup. Nimitz is now escorted by the cruiser San Jacinto and destroyer Mason, said a defense official, adding that the aircraft carrier’s deployment was extended “for the foreseeable future.”

Five ships — the destroyers Barry, Gravely, Ramage and Stout, and the amphibious transport dock San Antonio — remain in the Mediterranean.

The aircraft carrier Truman is patrolling the North Arabian Sea along with the cruiser Gettysburg and destroyer Bulkeley.

Big-deck amphibs are also in the region and ready. The amphibious assault ship Kearsarge — which has elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, as does the San Antonio — is in the Red Sea, and Boxer is expected to enter 5th Fleet this weekend.

http://www.navytimes.com/article/20131011/NEWS/310210003/As-Syria-crisis-fades-U-S-ships-remain-within-striking-distance