New project for the New Year: US Navy archive movies

A new project for 2016. I’ll be uploading US Navy documentary and training films from the archives to YouTube. I’ve created a new YouTube channel for this, US Navy Movies, which will keep the content separate from my Royal Navy channel.

Here are a few samples.

Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC), the Other LCS

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

This is another post I prepared for Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) as part of “Corvette Week.”

The US Coast Guard is currently in the first part or a two part program to select a design for a planned class of 25 ships referred to as Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) also called the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium (WMSM). In many respects these might be thought of a third class of Littoral Combat Ships. They have different characteristics and different strengths and weaknesses, but there is considerable overlap in there characteristics. Like the LCS they will be small, shallow draft, helicopter equipped warships with the 57mm Mk110 gun. It seems likely the OPC will be 2,500 to 3,500 tons, similar in size to the Freedom and Independence class LCS.

The existing LCS classes emphasize adaptability, are faster and have more spacious aviation facilities. The cutters will emphasize seakeeping and will:

  • have greater range (minimum 7,500…

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US Navy frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) rescues fishermen in distress off coast of Ecuador

BZ men & women of USS Rentz! Conducting a rescue of mariners in distress 200 nautical miles off the Ecuadorian coast.

The USS Rentz (FFG 46) is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported at San Diego. In August this year, the frigate intercepted a $78 million cocaine shipment while conducting counter-narcotics operations in support of Operation Martillo. One of only 13 vessels in her class remaining in commission (of 71 built!), the Rentz is scheduled to decommission during FY 2014. But considering how busy she’s been, it does not look like the Rentz intends to go quietly and without fanfare. Good work. Good work indeed.

Lost at Sea: U.S. Navy Ship Rescues 5 Off Ecuador

Guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) conducted a Safety-of-Life-at-Sea operation rescue Oct. 20-21 for a fishing vessel, 200 nautical miles off the coast of Ecuador in distress and stranded for 10 days.

The crew of the 14 meter vessel and four other small crafts in tow, had been without fuel or food prior to Rentz’ arrival.

The distressed vessel was spotted early Sunday morning, Oct. 20 by Rentz’ forward lookouts, who reported the small craft roughly 6,000 yards forward of the ship’s position. The ship swiftly responded and launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to investigate the situation with embarked U.S. Coast Guard LEDET personnel.

During the two-day rescue operation, LEDET personnel discovered that the vessel and five Ecuadorian nationals aboard had been struck by heavy weather, disorienting the crew and setting the small vessel 100 nautical miles off-course.

Adrift and out of fuel, the crew subsisted on bananas until Rentz arrived on scene and provided meals, ready-to-eat and approximately 120 gallons of diesel fuel; enough to return to home.

“Our crew is prepared to handle a myriad of situations while deployed to the 4th Fleet Area of Operations, including Safety-of-Life-at-Sea operations. We do so with the utmost pride and professionalism, and it is our duty to assist those in need on the high seas when the time comes. I am very pleased with this operation and could not be more proud of the swift actions taken by our crew,” Cmdr. Lance Lantier, commanding officer of USS Rentz said.

Rentz is currently conducting counter transnational organized crime operations in the 4th Fleet Area of Operations as part of Operation Martillo which began in January 2012.

Royal Navy intercepts £9m/$14m marijuana in Caribbean

RFA Wave Knight is a Wave Knight-class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The vessels are crewed by 72 RFA personnel and there is also provision for 26 Royal Navy personnel for helicopter, weapons systems and counter-narcotics operations. RFA Wave Knight is currently assigned to the Royal Navy’s standing Caribbean deployment, Atlantic Patrol Task (North).

Wave Knight scores £9m drugs bust intercepting Caribbean smugglers

Sailors from tanker RFA Wave Knight stopped an estimated £9m of cannabis reaching the UK after intercepting a suspicious fishing vessel in the Caribbean.

The ship recovered more than £6m of cannabis bales from the ocean as the drug-runners ditched them overboard, with upwards of £3m worth of narcotics ending up on the seabed.

This is what £6.4m of cannabis looks like – and it will never reach dealers, let alone the streets of the UK after being snared by RFA Wave Knight in the Caribbean.

Upwards of £3m of the drug is thought to be resting on the seabed after the tanker gave chase to a suspicious fishing vessel, whose crew began tossing their cargo overboard.

The tanker was on patrol when she came across Miss Tiffany – and sent her sea boat off in pursuit, armed with a US Coast Guard boarding team.

When the boat reached the fishing vessel, the drug runners began ditching weighted bales of marijuana before their craft was boarded by the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.

Thanks to the efforts of the crew of Wave Knight’s second sea boat, some 55 of those bales were recovered and brought aboard the auxiliary.

Miss Tiffany tries – and fails – to out run the tanker

In all a haul of some 1.2 tons (1276 Kg) with a street value of around £6.4m was recovered by Team Wave Knight with an estimated further 1,200lbs (540kg) of drugs sinking before the sailors could haul the bales out of the Caribbean.

Total disruption to the drug-runners: about £9m with seven crew of the Miss Tiffany arrested and their boat handed over to Jamaican authorities.

“The entire ships company – RFA civilians, US Law Enforcement Team and Royal Navy personnel alike – as well as HQ and prosecuting staff ashore – are delighted with the result,” said Capt Chris Clarke RFA, Wave Knight’s Commanding Officer.

“Once again the joint approach to counter narcotic operations has resulted in another successful take-down.”

It’s the fourth significant bust by British naval forces in the past couple of months.

The recovered drugs are hauled aboard Wave Knight

Lancaster bagged £100m cocaine and £700,000 cannabis, while Wave Knight intercepted a drug-smuggling go-fast in a joint effort with the Dutch.

Those successes were underlined by defence secretary Philip Hammond. “The work of the Royal Navy across the globe and in particular in the Caribbean on counter-narcotics operations is vital to protecting us here at home,” he said.

“This drugs bust follows recent successful interdiction and deterrence operations by HMS Lancaster and HMS Argyll in the Caribbean which all contribute to ensuring illegal drugs do not reach our streets. I congratulate the ship’s company for their actions in this operation.”

Wave Knight’s bust came under the banner of Operation Martillo, an effort by 15 nations to stop the movement of drugs from the Central and South American region by sea or air.

FY 2013 Copernicus Awards

R 101356Z SEP 13




RMKS/1. The Copernicus Award was established to recognize individual contributions to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), information systems, and information warfare. The award is sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).

2. Award criteria and eligibility. Fiscal year 2013 nominees must have made a specific, demonstrable contribution to the advancement of C4I, information systems, or Information Warfare. Contributions can be technical in nature, but may also originate from doctrinal, financial, organizational, or other dimensions of information systems. The contribution should involve exceptional initiative, leadership and insight within the nominee’s area of expertise. All Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Civil Service personnel are eligible for nomination. Up to 30 awardees will be selected. Each nominating command is limited to two nominees. No contractor or team (more than one person) nominations will be accepted. Nominations must be unclassified.

3. Nominations and presentation. The awardees will be selected through nominations from Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (including Joint/NATO) commands, afloat and ashore. Nominations must be on letterhead and submitted by scan/email (preferred), mail, or fax. Nominations for commanding officers or officers in charge must be signed by their immediate superior in command. Flag endorsements and letters of recommendation are neither required nor desired. The nomination template and additional nomination package information, as well as the most up-to-date POC information, can be found at Nominations are due to the POC no later than 1 November 2013. Late nominations will not be considered. AFCEA/USNI will make final selections and OPNAV (N2N6) will announce the awardees via NAVADMIN. The annual Copernicus Awards ceremony will be held at the AFCEA/USNI West Conference in San Diego, CA and an East Coast Conference, location TBD and announced SEPCOR.

4. Point of contact is CDR Kevin Wagner, OPNAV N2N6C11, at (703) 604-6127, DSN 664-6127 or via email at, kevin.h.wagner(at)

5. Released by Vice Admiral Ted N. Branch, OPNAV N2N6.//

Trade-Offs In Patrol Vessels

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

Think Defence has brought to my attention, a paper that addresses a way to consider the various possible trade-offs that might be applied to the design of patrol ships. Specifically they look at a ship very similar in concept to the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). This straw-man ship is the latest version of BMT Defence Services’ “Venator” concept. It’s dimensions are on the large side but within the range previously used to describe the OPC.

  • Waterline Length: 107 m (351 ft)
  • Beam:                    15 m (49.2 ft)
  • Draft:                     4.3 m (14.1 ft)
  • Displacement: 3,200 tons (approx.)

You can read the paper here (pdf). The ThinkDefence’s post is here. Their discussion is always lively. There is a claim there, quoted from the Royal Navy’s web site, that the current Royal Navy OPVs…

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HMS Lancaster seizes multi-million narcotics haul in Caribbean

HMS Lancaster, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, battling narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean as part of her duties assigned to Atlantic Patrol Task (North).

{cough… show of hands… old farts who still call it the West Indies guard ship…}

HMS Lancaster seizes multi-million pound cocaine haul

HMS Lancaster made the bust after the boat – concealed by a tarpaulin – was spotted by a US Customs and Border Agency aircraft in the Caribbean Sea.

HMS Lancaster in the Caribbean Sea. During the six-month deployment Lancaster will visit all of the British Overseas Territories in the region, as well as numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean nations. These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region. In between visits, Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and life saving assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

The Portsmouth-based frigate sped to the area and launched her Lynx helicopter and high-speed pursuit boat to intercept the 30ft vessel with three suspected smugglers on board. As Lancaster approached, the men attempted to dispose of the evidence by throwing one bale of drugs overboard, but these were quickly recovered by the boat crew.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

A total of 22 bales of pure cocaine were seized along with the three men on board who, ultimately, were fully compliant with the Royal Navy and US Coastguard team. The suspected smugglers and cocaine were then handed over to the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo and then the authorities in Puerto Rico.

The empty drugs boat was subsequently sunk by Royal Navy gunfire to prevent its use in future smuggling operations.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond MP said: “This extraordinary quantity of drugs has been stopped from reaching the streets by the swift actions of the Royal Navy, working closely with the US Coastguard. This is HMS Lancaster’s second counter narcotics patrol in the Caribbean to tackle the drugs trade and the entire ship’s company should be proud of this remarkable achievement.

“This is another example of the skills and capability that mean our Armed Forces are held in high regard by our partners around the world.”

HMS Lancaster is on patrol with a team from the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment as part of a multi-national effort to combat drug smuggling in the Caribbean.

HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said: “This is a great result not only for Lancaster but also everyone involved in the multi-national effort to stem the flow of drugs in the region.

“My ship’s company can be incredibly proud of what they have achieved, their professionalism and teamwork continue to shine, and our close relationship with our partner nations and law enforcement agencies is proving to be hugely successful.”

This is the ship’s third success in as many weeks and follows on from the seizure of a shipment of marijuana with a street value of up to £700,000 and the stopping of another craft with a significant amount of cocaine and heroine on board.

Able Seaman James Duffy, the coxswain of one of Lancaster’s sea boats, and who is from the city of Lancaster, said: “We have all trained really hard to get where we are and have a fantastic relationship with the US coast guard guys. It is an amazing feeling to get such a great bust and stop millions of pounds worth of cocaine hitting the streets.”

The Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate is on her second counter narcotics patrol of the Caribbean region and will continue to combat the illicit smuggling of drugs until the end of the year.

These patrols are part of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation collaborative effort to deny transnational criminal organisations air and maritime access to the littoral regions of Central America; and focus on putting a stop to the illegal movement of drugs from South America into the Caribbean and onwards to the UK. Over the past year the US Coast Guard has seized 20,500kg of cocaine and 8,500lbs of marijuana during 22 law enforcement interceptions.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

Counter narcotic operations with the USA and other partner nations is one of a range of tasks HMS Lancaster is conducting across the Caribbean in support of British interests. Others include providing reassurance and security for British Overseas Territories and the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the core hurricane season.

The Royal Navy contributes to counter narcotics across the globe whether it be cannabis and cocaine in the Caribbean or intercepting insurgent heroin traffic using its Sea King Air Surveillance helicopters in Afghanistan.

Mk8 Lynx from 815NAS 202Flt carry out winching training. During the six-month deployment Lancaster will visit all of the British Overseas Territories in the region, as well as numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean nations. These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region. In between visits, Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and life saving assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

USS Rentz seizes $78 million in cocaine

The USS Rentz (FFG-46) is an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate based at Naval Base San Diego.

One of only 13 vessels in her class still in commission (out of 71 built!), the Retnz is scheduled to decommission in 2014.

Frigate Rentz seizes $78M in cocaine

The Rentz is one of only five frigates that are still stationed in San Diego.

A San Diego-based warship has seized cocaine worth about $78 million — just one week into its latest drug-busting operation.

The frigate Rentz deployed from Naval Base San Diego on July 25 for the seven-month campaign called Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”).

The frigate’s crew wasted no time in starting their latest mission in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean.

Less than a week on station in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, servicemen seized 2,123 pounds of cocaine from a fishing vessel north of the Galapagos Islands.

“We are very fortunate to have the Rentz and embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment on patrol conducting counter transnational organized crime operations,” said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/4th Fleet.

“This major seizure in the first week the ship is on station is a clear indicator that illicit activities are taking place and must be addressed to counter their destabilizing affects in the region and in our nation.”

Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.

During last week’s operation, the Rentz worked closely with a Navy P-3 Orion long-range patrol aircraft to detect and intercept the fishing vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters.

The U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team aboard the frigate discovered and confiscated the cache of cocaine shortly after boarding the vessel.

Since Operation Martillo started in January 2012, 318,133 pounds of cocaine and 25,052 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $40 billion have been confiscated.

As well as targeting drug runners in the waterways, the Rentz will also take part in the annual multinational UNITAS maritime exercise next month.

This exercise will be conducted in the Southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia with naval forces from Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Rentz is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate.