CARIBBEAN SEA –
The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) and the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings (LCS 15) conducted a bilateral anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training exercise in the Caribbean Sea with the Colombian navy, Feb. 27-28.
Minnesota and Billings were joined by Colombian navy submarine ARC Pijao (SSK 28), frigates ARC Independiente (FM 54) and ARC Almirante Padilla (FM 51), and Colombian helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
At the start of the exercise, the ships took advantage of their close proximity to conduct maneuvering drills and test communications by conducting a photo exercise (PHOTOEX). Units then dispersed to practice various elements of ASW.
Forces conducted different events to train in detection and tracking, analysis and classification, and simulating attack of targets at varying depths and conditions.
The exercise served as a joint exercise with Colombia, with both countries trading expertise with each other to maximize communication and understanding of one another’s shared tactics and procedures to facilitate conducting naval operations against emerging threats in the region.
This bilateral engagement afforded the opportunity for both navies to improve interoperability and demonstrate their ability to communicate, navigate, and operate together at sea.
Minnesota is conducting a homeport shift from Groton, Conn. to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Billings is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.