Tag Archives: USS Essex (LHD 2)

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.”

RIMPAC on parade

A parade of modern naval architecture underway in the bright blue of the Pacific, showing off some 23 ships and submarines!

The great formation PHOTOEX captured on the below 5~ minute video shows off the multinational navy ships and a submarine navigate in formation during a group sail off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, August 21.

The video includes lots of close-ups of the individual ships:

0:09, 2:51 Republic Of Korea Navy guided-missile destroyer ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993)

0:14 Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Regina (FFH 334) in beautiful WWII camo

0:26 U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) 

0:32 Philippine Navy’s first guided-missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF 150)

0:37 RAN HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) 

0:54 Singapore Navy Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme (FFG 73)

1:01 Royal New Zealand Navy salvage ship HMNZS Manawanui (A09)

1:07 Destroyer ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH-975)

1:12, 2:57  HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338)

1:16 Royal Brunei Navy Darussalam-class offshore patrol vessel KDB Darulehsan (OPV 07)

1:22 Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Munro (WMSL 755)

1:25 RAN replenishment ship HMAS Sirius (O 266)

1:43 USS Jefferson City (SSN-759) (always nice to see an LA-class attack boat on the surface)

2:00, 2:14 Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force “helicopter destroyer” JS Ise (DDH 182)

2:29 RAN frigate HMAS Stuart (FFH 153)

Also seen, although not in the same detail, are the RAN frigate HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) and the guided-missile destroyer HMAS Hobart (DDG 39), the Japanese guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), French Navy Marine Nationale patrol ship FS Bougainville (A622), MSC fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), Essex’s escorts the guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS Dewey (DDG 105) as well as the aging Tico-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70).

There is a great gallery of these vessels at the Pacific Fleet’s social media page.

From COMPACFLT:

“Like-minded nations come together in RIMPAC in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific where all nations enjoy unfettered access to the seas and airways in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) upon which all nations’ economies depend,” said Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Ten nations, 22 ships, 1 submarine, and more than 5,300 personnel are participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) from August 17 to 31 at sea in the waters surrounding Hawaii. RIMPAC is a biennial exercise designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships, critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The exercise is a unique training platform designed to enhance interoperability and strategic maritime partnerships. RIMPAC 2020 is the 27th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

B-25 and PBY on the USS Essex…in 2020

A series of three upcoming Legacy of Peace Aerial Parade around Oahu, part of the 75th Commemoration of the End of WWII that will culminate with the official ceremony aboard the museum ship USS Missouri (BB 63) on 2 September, will have more than a dozen vintage warbirds take part including a B-25 bomber, some T-6 Texans and a former Navy PBY Catalina flying boat. The rare aviation classics came from the mainland and arrived at Pearl Harbor via the “aircraft carrier” USS Essex on Monday.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago)

Of course, the Essex involved is LHD-2, the 5th U.S. Navy ship to carry the name, and calls back to the famous 4th, the WWII fleet carrier CV-9 which remained in service until 1969.

That beautiful B-25 being lifted from Essex’s deck. Too bad they didn’t try to fly it off– it’s been done before! (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago)

Of note, today’s Essex actually has a longer flight deck than 1942’s USS Hornet, which carried Doolittle’s B-25s on their famous “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” raid.

PEARL HARBOR (Aug. 10, 2020) North American T-6 Texans, part of a group known as the “Warbirds,” sit on the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after being offloaded from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) for the 75th Commemoration of the End of WWII. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jessica O. Blackwell)

Flyovers of the Warbirds will include: Around Oahu (Aug. 29), Connecting the Military Bases (Aug. 30), and over the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor to Waikiki (Sept. 2).

Dat bayonet, doe

You have to admit the PEQ-15, bayonet and mono-pod forward grip combo on an old-school M16 with a steel mag warms your heart

SOUTHWEST ASIA (Sept. 17, 2015) U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Ripoyla moves to his next firing position during a bi-lateral training exercise. Ripoyla is a rifleman with India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 15th MEU, embarked aboard the ships of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine air-ground task force capable of engaging with regional partners and maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/Released)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (Sept. 17, 2015) U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Ripoyla moves to his next firing position during a bi-lateral training exercise. Ripoyla is a rifleman with India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 15th MEU, embarked aboard the ships of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine air-ground task force capable of engaging with regional partners and maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/Released)