Tag Archives: SINKEX

SINKEX Harpoon edition

The U.S. Navy’s press office released that, on 29 August off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, a live-fire SINKEX was conducted against a target hulk, the ex-USS Durham (LKA-114).

An 18,000-ton Charleston-class amphibious cargo ship commissioned on May 24, 1969, Durham was decommissioned on February 25, 1994, notably seeing service during Vietnam (four campaign stars, including the Frequent Wind evacuation in 1975) and the First Gulf War. The only Navy ship to carry the name of the North Carolina city, Durham was laid up in Pearl Harbor’s Middle Loch since 2000 and found ineligible for historic preservation in 2017.

The released video shows at least three missile hits as well as what could be some other surface weapons, with the Navy non-commital on just what ordinance was expended.

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Navy is reporting that the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina had the opportunity to shoot two of their RGM-84 Harpoons in RIMPAC, a rare event indeed.

Master Seaman Dan Bard, RCN

Master Seaman Dan Bard, RCN

At the same time, the Royal Australian Navy reports that the modified ANZAC (MEKO200) class frigate HMAS Stuart (FFH-153) expended one of her Harpoons on Durham.

RAN photo

RAN photo

“Simulation is a critical part of our training but there is nothing better than to conduct live-fire training,” said Royal Australian Navy Capt. Phillipa Hay, commander, RIMPAC 2020 Task Force One. “Sinking exercises are an important way to test our weapons and weapons systems in the most realistic way possible. It demonstrates as a joint force we are capable of high-end warfare.”

Torpedoes at work, Med edition

In a follow-up to the post on the German Type 212A submarines earlier this week, check out this SINKEX of the former Hellenic Navy transport Evros (A-415)— herself the ex-West German Navy Type 706 replenishment ship Schwarzwald (A1400)— sent to the bottom of the Agean by the Greek Papanikolis- (German Type 214)-class submarine HS Pipinos (S-121) through the use of a warshot SST-4 Mod. 0 Robbe (Seal) torpedo off Karpathos island last month.

The SST-4, introduced by Atlas Elektronik in 1980, is a Cold War-era 533mm heavyweight wire-guided/passive homing torpedo that has been replaced in German service with more modern fiber-optic guided torps. Still, it seems to work well enough to do the job against a stationary target ship, anyway.

In the video below, you can see the fish track all the way on the surface to make a near-perfect hit.

Of note, the Turks, who also operate German-made subs, had a SINKEX, two years ago, with TCG Yıldıray (S-350) using an SST-4 against a retired tanker, TCG Sadettin Gürcan (A 573)– of course putting the Greeks on notice.

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.

If you are a fan of the USS Racine, you probably shouldn’t watch this footage

Live fire from aircraft, a submarine, and land assets participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise sank the long-decommissioned ex-USS Racine (LST-1191) on 12 July in the Pacific Ocean. Ex-Racine was sent to the bottom at the end by aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 192 (VFA-192) at 8:45 p.m. in waters 15,000 feet deep, 55 nautical miles north of Kauaʻi, Hawaii.

The SINKEX featured live firing of surface-to-ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the U.S. Army, fired from Barking Sands. This marks the first time the U.S. Army and JGSDF have participated in a sinking exercise during RIMPAC as well as the first participation by a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

A torpedo from an unnamed submarine is shown at the 5:40 mark breaking her back. You can see her distinctive bow doors in several scenes, as well as her 1970s-era twin 3″/50 dual purpose gun mounts, still installed.

Racine, an 8,700-ton Newport-class of Landing Ship, Tank, was commissioned in 1971, decommissioned on 2 October 1993 as the Navy was getting out of the LST business and, after a planned transfer to Peru fell through, was set aside for use as a target while in inactive reserve at Pearl Harbor. She earned one battle star for her Vietnam service.

According to the Navy:

Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land. Surveys are conducted to ensure that people and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.

Prior to the vessel being transported for participation in a SINKEX, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process, including the removal of all polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items. Petroleum is also cleaned from tanks, piping, and reservoirs.

A U.S. Navy environmental, safety and health manager and a quality assurance supervisor inspect the environmental remediation conducted in preparation of a vessel’s use in a SINKEX. Upon completion of the environmental remediation, the manager and supervisor provide signed certification of the work in accordance with EPA requirements.

OHPs were tough nuts to crack

During RIMPAC 2016 the Navy and her allies conducted two SINKEXs, both on retired Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. Stripping the ships of combustibles, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transformers and large capacitors, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials, readily detachable solid PCB items and useful items such as 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts (though not the Mk 75 76mm guns which the Navy and Coast Guard are retiring) they were sent to the deep after a lot of munitions were poured on them.

The first, ex-USS Thach (FFG-43) withstood a tremendous amount of damage from Harpoon anti-ship missiles launched from Australian P-3 Orions and the cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) before taking torpedo hits from a submarine at periscope depth.

Then, in the below video, the decommissioned ex-USS Crommelin (FFG 37) just gets pounded mercilessly by live fire from ships and planes on 19 July, 60 miles north of Kauai, Hawaii.

It takes a lot to put her down.

It should be noted that two of their sisters, USS Samuel B. Roberts and USS Stark, both withstood terrific damage from a floating sea mine and surface to air missiles respectively in the Persian Gulf during the 1980s.

HMAS Farncomb celebrates successful sinking at RIMPAC

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Collins Class submarine HMAS Farncomb has successfully sunk a target ship, the 12,106-tonne former USNS (United States Navy Ship) Kilauea in Hawaii.


Farncomb,
a Collins Class submarine, fired one Mark 48 Torpedo and achieved a hit just below the bridge of the ship as part of a sinking exercise, or “SINKEX,” at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012.

The former USNS Kilauea broke into two parts and sank about 40 minutes later.

The submarine’s Commanding Officer, Commander Glen Miles, said the firing is a significant milestone for both himself and his 60-strong crew.

“This is the result of professionalism and teamwork,” Commander Miles said.

“Those of us who drive these boats know that the Collins’ weapons systems are among the most capable in the world.”

Australia is among 22 nations attending Exercise RIMPAC that includes six submarines and 40 surface ships participating in a realistic maritime warfare scenario.

Australian soldiers from 1 RAR are also participating in the amphibious aspect of the exercise, alongside US Marines. RAAF AP-3C Orions and a Wedgetail aircraft are also providing air support.

Australia’s contingent commander, Commodore Stuart Mayer, said RIMPAC provided the ADF with a realistic, high tech and challenging training opportunity.

“HMAS Farncomb’s success reminds us yet again of the invaluable role submarines play in modern warfare,” Commodore Mayer said.

“RIMPAC allows us to train with our allies for a worst case scenario in a real life environment.”

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC, provides a unique training opportunity helping participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

RIMPAC 2012 will conclude on 3 August 2012.