U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) returned to Changi Naval Base in Singapore, Feb. 25 following a port call in Muara, Brunei and routine patrols in the Sulu Sea and South China Sea.
After completing the four-day port visit in Brunei, Coronado conducted a passing exercise and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training at sea with Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) patrol vessel Daruttaqwa in the South China Sea.
The ship then transitted through the Balabac Strait and into the Sulu Sea for routine operations before heading back to port in Singapore.
“Working alongside the RBN at sea gave our Sailors a unique opportunity to practice operational tactics and enhance bilateral capabilities with a regional partner,” said Cmdr. Scott Larson, commanding officer, Coronado. “Training together increases our interoperability and helps ensure that we are ready to execute real-world operations if called upon.”
Training at sea with a regional partner for the first time while deployed to U.S. 7th Fleet provided unique opportunities for the crew. Lt. j.g. Anthony Grayson, Surface Warfare Det. 2 officer in charge, talked about the importance of the VBSS training.
Once operations with the RBN were complete, the Coronado crew maintained a full schedule of unit-level training, including a crew-served weapons exercise, damage control and man overboard drills, small boat and flight operations, and engineering operational checks.
Flight operations with the embarked MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopters were a primary focus of the underway according to Lt. Cmdr. Thanh Nguyen, officer in charge, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 Det. 5.
“Pilots, air crewmen, and maintainers were given the opportunity to refine their skills and proficiency at landing and operating on a ship operating at sea,” said Nguyen. “The gunnery exercise also allowed our sailors to shoot and remain current on our weapons systems.”
Currently on a rotational deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Coronado is an Austal-built Independence-variant littoral combat ship that boasts a larger flight deck than the Freedom variant, allowing for expanded aviation operations with regional navies, and has more fuel capacity providing increased operational capabilities.