USS New Orleans (LPH-11) SINKEX 2010

The Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans (LPH-11) was decomissioned in 1997 and mothballed at Suisun Bay until 2006. She was moved to Pearl Harbor in 2006 to prep for disposal via SINKEX, and was finally sunk during RIMPAC 2010.

Decommissioned USS New Orleans (LPH 11) taking fire during SINKEX, July 10, 2010.

New Orleans begins to roll during SINKEX, RIMPAC 2010.

New Orleans takes fire from a line of surface combat ships, July 10, 2010.

New Orleans begins to sink after being engaged by the Australian navy frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152) with her 5-inch gun.

New Orleans rolls on its side and begins to sink after being impacted by rounds fired from several ships.

Decommissoned US Navy amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans (LPH 11) slips below the surface at the conclusion of SINKEX, July 10, 2010.

New Orleans sunk on July 10, 2010 approx. 70-miles NW of Kauai, Hawaii.

New Jersey battle group, WESTPAC, 1986

Aerial view of the first Battleship Battle Group (BBBG) to deploy to the Western Pacific since the Korean War, taken 1 July 1986. [click photo to enlarge]

New Jersey Battleship Battle Group (BBBG), 1 July 1986. Photo credit: USN.

Ships clockwise from bottom of picture:


Fishing from the fantail of the USS George Washington

131020-N-FN963-024 PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 20, 2013) Sailors fish from the fantail of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a steel beach picnic. Ronald Reagan is underway conducting engineering exercises. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Richard L.J. Gourley/Released)

US Navy conducts submarine-launched mine exercise in Pacific

In the West, we often look at mines as a clearance issue rather than as an offensive capability. Yet that capability remains and COMSUBPAC has announced the completion of a submarine-launched mine exercise in the Hawaiian Operating Area.

Pacific Submarine Force Successfully Completes SLMM-Ex

COMSUBPAC Public Affairs
Release Date: 10/9/2013

(PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii) – The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Submarine Force recently honed its operational proficiency during a Submarine-Launched Mobile Mine Exercise (SLMM-Ex) conducted this week off the coast of Kauai at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF).

SLMM-Ex was designed to demonstrate the capability of a Los Angeles-class submarine to successfully launch Mk-67 SLMMs used specifically for destroying and/or disrupting enemy ships. The MK-67 SLMM was developed as a submarine-deployed mine for use in areas inaccessible for other mine deployment techniques or for covert mining of hostile environments.

This end-to-end demonstration began with the training of a Los Angeles-class submarine crew to handle and launch Mk 67 SLMMs. The training included SLMM weapons handling and certification using training shapes and walk-through events, including a simulated launch. The exercise culminated in the actual launch of inert Mk 67 SLMM exercise mines off PMRF. Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) ONE, successfully recovered the exercise mines.

“Conducting exercises like these ensures the operational readiness of the submarine force,” said Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “It further ensures that our submarines stand ready to provide critical access to the world’s ocean trade routes, provide credible defense against any hostile maritime forces, and project power from the sea to the shore when needed.”

The Mk-67 SLMM is a submarine-launched mine in service with the U.S. Navy that consists of a Mk 37 torpedo body with a modified warhead and trigger. The main advantage of the weapon is that the submarine does not have to pass over the area where the mine is to be laid; it is launched as a torpedo and swims to the lay spot.

The Hawaiian Operating Area and training ranges provide Sailors an immensely valuable opportunity to practice and perfect their skills. Nowhere else in the world provides a more realistic, relevant training opportunity. That said, the U.S. Navy takes pride in its environmental stewardship and employs appropriate protective measures in accordance with its permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service and with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. In addition, approved procedures are in place to minimize the potential impact on marine life in the waters in which exercises are conducted.

Chinese destroyer, frigate pay visit to Pearl Harbor

A reminder that international trade depends on safe, protected sea lanes and diplomatic stability.

Chinese navy ships arrive at Pearl Harbor for rare visit

A children’s hula group performs on the pier in front of the Chinese guided missile destroyer Qingdao after three Chinese naval ships arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. Three ships are to participate in a search-and-rescue exercise with the U.S. Navy.
Audrey McAvoy/The Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Three Chinese ships carrying hundreds of sailors arrived in Hawaii on Friday to join a search-and-rescue exercise with the U.S. Navy during a rare visit intended to foster familiarity.

The guided missile destroyer Qingdao, a frigate and a supply ship were welcomed with performances by lion dancers and a children’s hula group. The ships carrying 680 officers and sailors will participate in the exercise on Monday with the USS Lake Erie in waters off Waikiki and Diamond Head.

The exercise is an important way for the two navies to share information about operations so they don’t misinterpret movements and potentially start a conflict, said Brad Glosserman, executive director of Pacific Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“There are lots of places where our vessels could end up in proximity, and we want to make very sure that when that happens we have the best possible understanding of what the other side is doing and why,” he said.

The visit comes as Beijing continues to be wary about Washington’s strategic “rebalance” toward Asia, in which the Navy is basing a majority of its ships in the Pacific and the U.S. is boosting ties with longtime allies such as Australia and Japan.

China sees the moves as an effort to counter its expanding military and contain its growing economic and political influence.

Chinese ships last visited the U.S. in 2006, when the Qingdao and the Hongzehu stopped in Pearl Harbor and San Diego for communications drills and search and rescue exercises off those coasts. The two nations last held a joint drill in 2012 during an anti-piracy exercise off Somalia.

China’s military has said the drills build on a June commitment by President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to strengthen ties.

The Navy said the visit is part of its ongoing effort to develop relationships with foreign navies to build trust, encourage cooperation, enhance transparency and avoid miscalculation.

Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said the two navies are showing their commitment to a stable world by working together and sharing aloha for the next several days.

“We are linked with you together in history, and we will be linked together in the future,” Williams said about China.

Rear Adm. Wei Gang, chief of staff, North Sea Fleet and head of the delegation, said there’s been steady progress in U.S.-China relations in recent years.

“This time, I, together with all the officers and the men of the task group, entrusted by our Chinese government and the people, sailed all the way across the broad Pacific and brought here to our American friends the friendly feelings of the Chinese people and the People’s Liberation Army,” Wei said through an interpreter.

During the drills, sailors will practice turning ships at sea, conduct searches and rescues, and send small boats back and forth between ships, Williams said. U.S. and Chinese helicopters will also work together.

Socializing is a major part of the visit. During the weekend, sailors will play basketball and soccer, attend two receptions, and visit the USS Arizona Memorial and the now-decommissioned World War II-era battleship Missouri.

PHOTEX: USS Albuquerque returns to San Diego

130821-N-NB544-130 SAN DIEGO (Aug. 21, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) returns to Naval Base Point Loma following a seven-month deployment to the western Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom/Released)