USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) participated in the Citadel Protect force protection exercise on Naval Base San Diego Sept. 25.
The exercise simulated a small boat attack and showcased the new Hailing Acoustic Laser and Light Tactical System (HALLTS) technology that requires only one person to operate the controller. The HALLTS uses acoustics, lights and non-lethal lasers in one system to deter potential threats.
“This was a joint operation between USS Rushmore, USS Lake Champlain and NBSD,” said Lt.j.g. Keith Romoser, Rushmore’s force protection officer. “It was an opportunity for the security teams to interact and respond together to a threat.”
The first simulated attack consisted of two small vessels entering an exclusion zone with the intent to attack the ship. After given a verbal warning to change their course, Rushmore’s anti-terrorism team fired blank rounds from a M240 machine gun. The use of pyrotechnic smoke on the vessels simulated being neutralized.
“This event gives Sailors an opportunity to practice responding to a simulated threat,” said Romoser. “Getting live feedback from a moving target and using blank ammunition is much more realistic.”
The exercise also featured new technologies and realistic scenarios to prepare security forces.
The second simulation used the new HALLTS technology. Warnings were given from the controller to the vessels approaching the exclusion zone. The idea is to deter the vessels away from the ship.
“Directed sound, lasers, and spot lights lets the vessel know that they are in an exclusion zone,” said Chief Fire Controlman Chris Morge, assigned to Rushmore. “After they do not change their course, we will take further action.”
Press Release, September 30, 2014; Image: US Navy