Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Chinese OPV?

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freedom Arrives In Mayport, Prepares For Maiden Deployment

Mayport January 30, 2010 - USS Freedom (LCS 1), the Navy's first littoral combat ship (LCS), arrived at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Jan. 26 to begin final preparations for her maiden deployment.

While in Mayport, Freedom will undergo final counterillicit trafficking and airborne use of force training and certification in preparation for expected missions in the U.S. Southern Command/Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Readying for this deployment was a unique process for Freedom's Sailors. Starting in November 2009, Freedom engaged in independent training and certification exercises off the Virginia and Florida coasts, including maritime security surge training for both the Blue and Gold Crews.

After completing a Continuous Maintenance Availability at Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk, Va., in mid-January 2010, Freedom got underway again for sea trials to verify the integration of the Surface Warfare Mission Package and aviation detachment with the core crew. Upon completion of a successful set of trials and onload of deployment ammunition, Freedom sailed south to Mayport to complete the final certification process and prepare for the mid-February 2010 deployment.

"This deployment comes a full two years ahead of schedule," said Cmdr. Randy Garner, commanding officer of Freedom's Gold Crew. "We are ready and eager to get to sea, head south and show what Freedom and her crew are capable of doing."

Freedom's deployment will be the first for the revolutionary LCS program, whose ships are designed to handle mission sets that do not require the full breadth and depth of capabilities of a traditional surface combatant.

Instead of the wide spectrum of combat capability inherent to those platforms, an LCS will embark tailored mission packages (surface warfare, mine countermeasure, anti-submarine warfare or maritime security) and an aviation detachment to fulfill a specific mission set. These tailored packages allow the LCS to fulfill several niche missions with a much smaller crew and at less cost than larger surface combatants.

Additionally, the shallower draft of the LCS allows it to operate in many areas where larger, deeper-draft combatants cannot venture.

The Sailors of Freedom's Gold Crew, some of whom served aboard the ship before her commissioning, are eagerly anticipating her first operational deployment.

"Absolutely – everyone's looking forward to this deployment," said Command Master Chief Anthony Decker, who will be embarking on his last shipboard deployment. "This is what these men and women get paid to do – not testing, not trials, but actually doing real-world missions."

Freedom's deployment will conclude later this spring when she arrives in her new homeport of San Diego.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Charles de Gaulle's "Pedro"

The sun never sets on the 35F (Google translation)

Helicopters Dauphin the Navy has two main tasks. The Dauphin said "Pedro" ensure the protection of the crews of aircraft movements during catapult launch and landing day and night aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle . Finally, Dauphin public service are responsible themselves, research, rescue and rescue at sea and government missions at sea and the fishing police. Zoom in on this last responsibility of the posting 35 F La Rochelle.

The posting of public service of the 35th Fleet Air Arm of La Rochelle can be deployed on nearly 440 kilometers of coastline, from Saint-Nazaire to the Spanish border, and beyond if necessary. The six men of the detachment performing the mission of public service in this vast area twenty-four hours in twenty-four and seven days a week, trimmed for takeoff.

The alert was given by the Regional Operational monitoring and rescue Etel. It's the commotion: agitation orderly run-gestures. The Dauphin takes off in 15-20 minutes 35-40 minutes day and night and can interfere with a radius of 300 kilometers.

The detachment consists of two teams of 6 persons: 2 pilots, 1 winch, 1 diver and 2 mechanics. If necessary, a doctor may take place aboard the DauphinAs for medical evacuation missions. The mechanics themselves, remain on the ground and provide maintenance and servicing of the machine. The team is held every 15 days.

The main tasks of Dauphin are:

Search and Rescue at Sea

technical assistance to ships

The Dauphin also involved in the monitoring of pollution, fisheries, land relief and hospital transfers.

30th anniversary of Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn memorial service to be held

St Petersburg FL January 27, 2010 - The public is invited to attend the 30th anniversary memorial service of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collision at 11 a.m., Thursday, at Blackthorn Memorial Park off Interstate 275.

The Blackthorn sank after colliding with the tanker Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Jan 28, 1980. Twenty-three of the Blackthorn's 50 crewmembers lost their lives during the Coast Guard's worst peacetime disaster. A memorial inscribed with the names of the crewmembers that perished now stands two miles north of the accident site.

Thursday’s ceremony will consist of remarks by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, a cutterman's salute by Rear Adm. Steve Branham, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, an aerial salute by Coast Guard aircraft, posting of the Colors and reading of the lost crewmembers' names.

The Blackthorn tragedy provided the impetus for the establishment of the Command and Operations School at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. The school offers courses to prepare command-level officers and senior enlisted members for command duty afloat. Commanding officers are now required to formally assess risks such as transiting an unfamiliar port at night and are given full discretion and encouraged to say no if they feel the risks involved are unnecessary.

Additionally, the Coast Guard developed new training requirements, spent more money on safety equipment and made changes to the navigational aids in and around Tampa Bay.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

USS George H.W. Bush Departs for Sea Trials

Newport News January 27, 2010 - USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departed Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., for sea trials Jan. 27 after a seven-month maintenance period.

During Sea Trials, the ship's electronics, communication, navigation and other combat systems that were built or modified in the shipyard will be tested.

In addition, an inspection of the ship's catapults and jet blast deflectors will be conducted, as well as inspections of the ship's berthing spaces, demonstrations of search and rescue equipment firefighting capabilities, and an evaluation of food service facilities to determine the ship's overall mission readiness.

Bush's sea trials comes after a highly successful Post Shakedown Availability/Selective Restrictive Availability that officially completed the construction of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.

"In just seven months, the ship experienced an amount of depot and intermediate level work comparable to an 11-month planned incremental availability," said Bush's Chief Engineer, Cmdr. Shannon Terhune.

Work on the ship over the last seven months included finishing the airwing spaces and combat systems suite, implementation of ship alterations to get the ship on the class maintenance plan, and the completion of the ship's force work package.

Ship's force work saved the Navy more than half a million dollars, according to Bush Engineering Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) Al Fuller, and more than 60 percent of the overall ship's force work package fell to Engineering Department Sailors to complete.

One major undertaking was completed by Damage Control division, who exhausted more than 6,800 man hours upgrading the ship's 10 damage control repair stations and 27 damage control unit lockers, saving the Navy more than $680,000.

Another upgrade included Electric division converting the carrier's "77" island lights from incandescent bulbs to light emitting diode, saving the Navy 90 percent of the cost associated with light operation. Terhune credited the teamwork and cooperation between ship's force, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Program Manager for Ships (In-Service Aircraft Carriers), Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic (Maintenance and Material), Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (Newport News), and more than 20 separate contractor organizations for an unprecedented level of efficiency in the execution of production work on the ship. He said the ship's crew appreciated the professionalism of all maintenance providers.

Upon completion of sea trials, Bush will return to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to begin the work-up cycle towards deployment and prepare for sustained flight operations at sea.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

T-34 Turbomentor Mishap Pilot Identified

NAS Whiting Field January 25, 2010 - One pilot is recovering and one is presumed dead following a training flight that crashed into Lake Ponchartrain, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The two pilots were attached to Training Squadron 6 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.

Lt. Clinton Wermers and the student pilot were flying a routine nighttime instrument training mission and were approaching Lakefront Airport in New Orleans when their plane went down in the lake. Coast Guard teams rescued the student pilot from the water near 9 p.m. Jan. 23, with mild hypothermia and moderate injuries. Wermers, the instructor pilot, has not been located and Coast Guard rescue efforts have transitioned to a recovery operation. The rescued pilot was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for his injuries. He has since been released.

The cause of the mishap is unknown. An investigation by Training Air Wing 5 and the Naval Safety Center has been initiated.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Navy Sea King and RAF Nimrod rescue injured fisherman

London January 25, 2010 ( - An injured fisherman was airlifted from his vessel 200 nautical miles (370km) west of the Scilly Isles last week by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter which, given the extreme operating range, was given top cover by an RAF Nimrod.

Royal Air Force Nimrod MR2 Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft in flight over water (stock image)

[Picture: Senior Aircraftman Adam Houlston, Crown Copyright/MOD 2008]

The Spanish fisherman from the vessel Bogavante Segundo had been struck by some of the vessel's fishing gear and sustained chest injuries, but was described as 'walking wounded' by the helicopter crew.

The Sea King was scrambled from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and in addition to the normal naval crew a paramedic from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust was also on board the aircraft, available to provide expert care should the need arise.

Due to the location of the fishing boat, 200 nautical miles west of the Scilly Isles, which meant the Sea King was operating at its extreme range, top cover from the Nimrod was requested.

The Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre based at RAF Kinloss received the call from the Falmouth Coastguard and a Nimrod from 201 (Guernsey's Own) Squadron arrived at the scene and was able to locate the fishing vessel before the rescue helicopter arrived.

Lieutenant Commander Simon Daw, Captain of the Sea King helicopter, said:

"The weather conditions were reasonable but there was a heavy swell which made the job more difficult than usual, and although we were working near the limits of our range the job went well. We wish the fisherman a speedy recovery."

The Sea King crew flew the fisherman to the Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske), where he was treated for a broken collar bone and suspected internal injuries.

USS Essex Embarks 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit for Spring Patrol

Okinawa January 24, 2010 - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) on-loaded more than 1,100 marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Jan. 22-24 in preparation for the ship's annual spring patrol throughout the Western Pacific region.

Essex's Combat Cargo Department moved hundreds of vehicles and cargo in support of the Battalion Landing Team (BLT), Ground Combat Element (GCE), Aviation Combat Element (ACE) and Combat Logistics Battalion.

"This underway is going to provide some challenges for both the blue and green sides," said Gunnery Sgt. Steven Jones, senior combat cargo assistant. "The MEU is the same, but a lot of the subordinate elements have changed. We will have to work together to build a strong working relationship, but this is nothing new for Essex. It's a challenge we're ready to meet."

Preparing to take on the MEU began weeks before Essex departed her home port of Sasebo, Japan. Flight deck, forklift and safety qualifications were updated, and new personnel were trained to perform in the fast-paced environment.

The 31st MEU consists of ground, command, air and combat support elements that allow the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESX ARG) to conduct amphibious operations from the sea and project power ashore.

For one of those elements, the ACE, coming aboard for the upcoming exercise provides many opportunities.

"Embarking on Essex will allow us to improve upon our aircraft readiness," said Maj. Lee Cracknel, ACE aviation maintenance officer. "Additionally, we're looking forward to the evolutions we'll be executing. We're going to get to train in some areas that we don't normally get to operate in."

While seasoned veterans comprise much of the MEU, the exercise will provide many of its Marines with their first taste of life aboard a Navy ship.

"For me, it's going to take some time to get used to it all, especially living in such close quarters with others," said Lance Cpl. Jordan Baker, of Raleigh, N.C. "At the same time, we're going to get to see some different ports and work with other countries. I'm looking forward to that."

Essex's spring patrol throughout the Western Pacific region will feature a series of maritime training exercises designed to build relationships and enhance operational readiness between U.S. and Western Pacific partner nations. Essex sailors, along with the 31st MEU, will train with forces throughout the region.

Essex is commanded by Capt. Troy Hart and is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Amphibious Ready Group and serves as the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force commander. CTF 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with a detachment in Sasebo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

USS Los Angeles Decommissioned

Los Angeles Januaruy 23, 2010 ( Sailors assigned to the fast-attack submarine USS Los Angeles (SSN 688) man the rails one last time during the boat's decommissioning ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles. Los Angeles will transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. to begin the inactivation process. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jeffrey Wells/Released)

Office of Naval Research Recalls Role in Vessel's Record-Breaking Deep-Sea Dive

Washington January 23, 2010 ( -- Fifty years ago on Jan. 23, 1960, two men set a deep-diving record, plunging their vessel, the Trieste, 35,810 feet to the deepest known point on the Earth's surface, the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

It was a feat that many considered the ocean exploration equivalent of putting the first man on the moon, as the Trieste became the first, and only, manned vessel to reach the floor of the Challenger Deep. On Jan. 23, that historic dive is celebrated by the naval and scientific communities, in particular the Office of Naval Research, which purchased the Swiss-Italian-made bathyscaphe, or deep sea boat, in 1958 to support the Navy's new deep submergence program and submarine rescue operations.

"The 'high-risk, high-payoff' maxim is synonymous with the Office of Naval Research," said Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, chief of naval research, as he reflected on the anniversary of the Trieste dive. "That was true 50 years ago when ONR saw the potential for both scientific investigation and naval service in the Trieste. And it's true today as we continue to play a critical role in advancing scientific knowledge with a focus on the 'next big thing' for our Navy and Marine Corps warfighters."

The Trieste's nine-hour dive reinforced the importance of deep-ocean access to operational security and laid the foundation for the Navy's deep-submergence program. In 1963, the Trieste was used to locate the sunken nuclear submarine USS Thresher, and collected photos and other data from another sunken submarine, USS Scorpion. In 1980, the Trieste was retired and placed on display in the Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard.

The two men who navigated the Trieste, Lt. Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, son of Swiss physicist and the vessel's designer, Auguste Piccard, also received global recognition for the dive. Piccard passed away in November 2008. Walsh, a retired Navy captain, and other deep-sea scientists are expected to attend a series of events marking the Trieste's historic voyage. Working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Geographic Society and the Navy, a private group has planned several events in April in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the Trieste's achievement.

Suspected smuggler dies after boat, cocaine seized in Eastern Pacfic Ocean

Alameda CA January 23, 2010 ( -  A suspected cocaine smuggler died in Guatemala Tuesday following the seizure of his boat in the Eastern Pacific Ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard. The man was medevaced to Guatemala City when he sustained possible engine fragment or shrapnel injuries after shots were fired to disable the boat's engines as it fled from authorities.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, operating from a Coast Guard cutter patrolling the area, pursued the suspicious craft, signaled the operator to stop, and fired warning shots. The boat did not stop so rounds from a high powered rifle were aimed at the boat's engines to disable them.

A Coast Guard boarding team, in a pursuit boat dispatched from the cutter, discovered the injured suspect when they reached the disabled craft. The man was immediately transferred to the cutter, where a medical technician worked to stabilize his condition, then medevaced to Guatemala City by helicopter. He was transferred to an ambulance ashore in critical but stable condition but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

An investigation will be conducted to review the details of Tuesday's interdiction operation, try to determine exactly what caused the man's injuries, and ensure all appropriate procedures and safety measures were followed.

"We extend our condolences to the suspect's family," said Capt. Kevin O'Day, chief of response for the 11th Coast Guard District. "The U.S. Coast Guard and partner agencies go the extraordinary lengths to minimize the chance of injury to suspected smugglers. It is regrettable, in this case, that the smugglers did not heed our multiple orders or warnings to halt," he said. "We deeply appreciate the assistance of the Guatemalan Air Force, the Guatemalan Military Medical Center and the Centro Medico hospital for their efforts to organize the medevac of the patient."

Two other boats were stopped as part of Tuesday's counter-drug operation. One of those vessels halted after orders to stop and warning shots from the helicopter. Another boat ignored warnings and required engine-disabling gunfire to make it stop. Five suspected smugglers and bales of cocaine thought to have been thrown overboard from the three seized boats are in custody of U.S. authorities. The interdictions occurred in international waters approximately 32-miles off the west coast of Guatemala.

Injuries to smuggling boat crews in connection boat engine disabling fire from helicopters are rare. Including Tuesday's incident, U.S. Coast Guard records indicate there have been two fatalities and two serious injuries to suspects out of 176 cases where the tactic was used since it was initiated in the late 1990's.

The law enforcement phase of U. S. drug interdiction operations in the Eastern Pacific are conducted under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California. In 2009 some 135 tons of cocaine were intercepted in the Eastern Pacific by U.S. Coast Guard and partner agencies operating in the region.

Bataan LCACs Land Ashore to Bring More Relief in Haiti

Grand Goave, Haiti January 23, 2010 - Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 Air Cushioned Landing Crafts (LCAC) left the well deck of multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and arrived on the beaches of Haiti Jan. 22.

They brought 24 vehicles ashore for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to carry relief supplies.

Opening the beach and bringing in vehicles to navigate the inferior roads has relief flowing by air, land and sea.

"The efforts of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission are an awesome display of the Navy-Marine Corps team bringing relief to those in need," said Capt. Thomas Negus, commodore, USS Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission. "It is truly a 'Global Force for good.'"

The landing craft moved eight Light Armor Vehicles (LAV) and 16 High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles in seven trips by three LCACs.With today's landing, ACU-4 is ready to continue to offload the 22nd MEU's personnel and equipment.

"Right now we are standing by to offload the rest of the MEU and their equipment. It's a process with a lot of moving parts, but now that (LCACs) are able to help, it should go a bit faster." said Klimko.

Due to the LCAC's ability to carry large amount of personnel, supplies, and vehicles, the landing craft's debut was a welcome addition to the relief effort.

"We're glad to get in there," said Klimko. "A lot of good work has been done on the air side, but we're glad to finally be using the landing side's equipment and personnel."

Amphibious Relief Mission ships Bataan, USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) are deployed to provide military support capabilities to civil authorities and to help stabilize and improve the situation in the wake of this disaster.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

USS Patriot (MCM 7)

100119-N-0807W-026 Sasebo, Japan (Jan. 19, 2010)- The forward-deployed mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) leaves its berth at Fleet Activities Sasebo harbor and embarks on spring patrol. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lincoln Underway for Sea Trials

From USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Wash., for sea trials after an intensive nine-month maintenance period Jan. 13.

The underway period for sea trials and other testing and training is expected to last approximately five days, ending in the successful completion of the ship's planned incremental availability at PSNS.

Once sea trials are complete, Lincoln will return to its homeport of Everett, Wash., for further training and integration with the ships and aircraft of Carrier Strike Group 9.

"Sea trials are a culmination of a year's worth of diligent planning and hard work," said Lincoln's Commanding Officer, Capt. Patrick D. Hall. "Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Naval Air Forces, and the Lincoln crew really came together as a team to make this a successful maintenance period."

The more than 90 checks and exercises planned for sea trials include a ship-wide Navy Occupational Safety And Health inspection and review of the ship's asbestos control program.

An inspection of the ship's catapults and jet blast deflectors will be conducted, as well as inspections of the ship's berthings, operational checks of aviation fueling systems, and demonstrations of search and rescue equipment.

Firefighting capabilities, food service facilities, communication, radar, and navigation equipment will also be evaluated to determine the ship's mission readiness.

"I'm extremely proud of what this crew has accomplished over the past year," said Hall. "Lincoln is ready to become operational, execute our nation's maritime strategy and rejoin the fleet as a global force for good."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Independence (LCS 2)

Mobile January 6, 2010 - Pre-Commissioning Unit Independence (LCS 2) will be commissioned Jan. 16.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

IKE Strike Group Deploys

From USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

January 2, 2010

USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) deployed Jan. 2 for a six-month deployment in support of 5th and 6th Fleet operations.

IKE CSG is made up of Commander, CSG 8; the aircraft carrier IKE, homeported in Norfolk, Va.; Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW) 7; Commander, Destroyer Squadron 28; the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74), homeported in Norfolk; and the Mayport, Fla.-based ships, guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64) and USS Farragut (DDG 99).

IKE CSG missions focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts that help establish conditions for regional stability.

"I'm extremely proud of the men and women of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of IKE CSG. "They've exceeded all expectations in a very short amount of turnaround time. We are ready to go over the horizon and support the troops on the ground in Afghanistan, support the nation's Maritime Strategy, and protect our nation's interests."

The deployment is part of an on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.

IKE CSG consists of approximately 6,000 sailors who, over the last four months, have successfully completed refresher training and certifications to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.

"IKE returned from a successful combat deployment last summer. We spent most of November (2009) at sea training during a challenging Composite Training Unit Exercise, and we spent December (2009) making sure the ship, our Sailors and our families are ready for this deployment. This is an amazing ship, but what's even more amazing are the young Americans who bring it to life," said Capt. Dee Mewbourne, IKE's commanding officer.