Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Undersea Warfare:US Navy Submarine Forces' ICEX 2016

On 2 March,the US Navy began constructing Ice Camp SARGO on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean to support Ice Exercise 2016.The five-week drills are researching,testing and evaluating operational capabilities of the Navy's Submarine Forces in the Arctic region.*
ICEX allows us to assess our operational readiness in the Arctic;increase our experience in the region;develop partnerships and collaborative efforts;and advance our understanding of the Arctic environment,according to Vice Admiral Joseph E. Tofalo,Commander,Submarine Forces.The Arctic environment plays a key role in national defence.With over 1,000 miles of Arctic coastline,the US has strong national security and homeland defence interests in the region,VADM Tofalo pointed out.*
The Navy's San Diego-based Arctic Submarine Laboratory is coordinating,planning and executing ICEX,which has over 200 participants from four countries.Participating besides the US are Canada,the UK and Norway.It involves complex testing,demonstration and evaluation efforts that promote and align with broader Navy,DOD and national objectives in the Arctic,said ASL Director Larry Estrada.*
Ice Camp SARGO has shelters,a command center and the infrastructure to support more than 70 personnel at one time.It is named for the USS Sargo (SSN 583),which became in 1960 the first submarine to conduct a winter transit of the Bering Strait,and a subsequent North Pole surfacing.*
Navy Submarine Forces conduct Arctic under-ice operations in support of inter-fleet transit;training;cooperative allied engagement and operations,and have done so for over 50 years.*
Two US Navy Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines arrived at Ice Camp SARGO on 14 March.The USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS Hampton (SSN 767),from Groton,Connecticut and San Diego,respectively,will conduct multiple arctic transits;North Pole surfacing;scientific data collection;and other training evolutions.*
These submarine operations provide the necessary training to maintain a working knowledge of an extremely challenging region that is very different from any other ocean in the world,said Commander Scott Luers,ice camp officer-in-tactical-command and deputy director of operations for Commander Submarine Forces,Norfolk.Navigating,communicating and manoeuvering are all different in an arctic environment as there are surfaces both above and below a submarine,CDR Luers explained.*
ICEX 2016 is our continued commitment to the development of undersea warfare capabilities and tactics in all areas of the world,said Rear Admiral Jeff Trussler,Commander,Undersea Warfighting Development Center.Our superiority in delivery effects in and from the undersea domain to operational commanders is dependent on the regular exercise and demonstration of these capabilities,RADM Trussler noted.*
The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines,a product of General Dynamics Electric Boat Division,have a mission of anti-submarine warfare and land attack.They have a complement of 16 officers and 127 enlisted.Considered the current backbone of the Submarine Forces,there are 41 of them in service,the newest 30 of which have VLS tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles,as well as tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes.The newest 23 of the boats,including the USS Hartford and USS Hampton,are modified for under-ice operations,being configured and strengthened for ice-surfacing.*
General Dynamics (GD)

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