Harpoons and Perrys off Kauai

The recent RIMPAC 2018 exercise saw two notable sinkex operations, the first, the old LST USS Racine we have covered already.

The second, the decommissioned OHP-class frigate USS McClusky (FFG 41), was sent to on 19 July to the bottom of waters some 15,000 feet deep, 55 nautical miles north of Kauai.

Her sad, final plunge:

One of the youngest of her class, ex-McClusky was an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate commissioned in December 1983 and decommissioned in January 2015. The ship was named for Lt. Cmdr. Wade McClusky, a naval aviator who led his squadrons of Douglass Dauntless dive bombers against a Japanese fleet during the famed attack on the island of Midway in June 1942. He went on to distinguish himself in subsequent actions during the war and again in the Korean War before retiring at the rank of rear admiral in 1956. The ship operated worldwide during her more than 30 years of service. During one deployment in 2002, her crew successfully intercepted a drug runner at sea hauling 75 bales of cocaine weighing nearly 4,000 pounds.

Notably, the first use of a sub-Harpoon in a generation was seen during the exercise when Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN-717) loaded one of these unicorns and let it fly towards Racine.

The periscope footage, 30 secs:

Loading B-roll, 5 minutes:

30-sec compilation including the hit on Racine’s forward third:

In the end, though, there was one FFG-7 class vessel present at RIMPAC that had a better go of things. The Royal Australian Navy guided-missile frigate HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05) participated on the other side of the gun line and on 2 August set sail back to Oz, intact.

One comment

  • Great photo of HMAS Melbourne wrapping up a sad post. I watched the YouTube footage of my last ship — USS RENTZ (FFG-46) — in a SINKEX less than two years ago, off Guam, in 30,000 feet of water, IIRC. It was like watching my childhood home burn down might have felt.

    The end of RENTZ is still on YouTube, with the last view of her being the stern and bow floating separately before disappearing beneath the waters of the Pacific.

    Very sad, but they were SM-1 ships, and the Navy removed the missile rails from the OHP frigates. I always valued the rail more for the ability to shoot Harpoons. With no missile, these “guided missile frigates” are FFGs in name only, with nothing but a 76mm gun, torpedoes, and the Vulcan Phalanx CIWS as “installed” weapons, although we mounted four M2 Browning .50 MGs on the corners of the superstructure once on a WESTPAC. The Seahawk helos were really the most effective weapons of an FFG without a missile rail.

    Thanks for the memories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.