In a move designed to give the ship an edge over mines, sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie performed a deperming procedure on the ship ahead of her upcoming deployment.
The Ticonderoga-class cruiser moored at Naval Base Point Loma’s deperming pier, February 6-9, for an evolution which would put her crew to the test.
Deperming is a technique used by the U.S. Navy to reduce the magnetic signature of its warships. An all-hands event, the crew wrapped almost 80 cables, ranging 220-650 feet in length, around the vessel.
Once wrapped, the cables are charged repeatedly helping to negate the magnetism the ship has built up over time. This process makes the ship less vulnerable to mines.
Since summer 2000, Lake Erie has been the Navy’s premiere ballistic missile defense test ship for the Pacific Fleet. As such, she completed various short deployments. However this spring, she and her crew will be put to the test as she joins Carrier Strike Group 11, alongside aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), for her first full deployment in several years.
With such a gap in deployments, Lake Erie was long overdue for a magnetic overhaul.
“Our ship definitely needed the treatment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Jones, chief engineer. “The contractors said we had the worst magnetic signature they had seen in five years.”
The crew is busy not only preparing the ship physically, but also mentally preparing the crew for the rigors of life at sea.
“I think everyone started to realize that deployment is very real and that it is coming up fast,” Chief Gunner’s Mate Oscar Gonzalez said. “Even though the ship has been preparing for about a year now, this is the first real checklist item that makes us a worldwide-deployable asset.”
U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious readiness groups, surface action groups, or operating independently.