Surface combatants from the US Navy’s USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) carrier strike group have completed the Navy’s first East Coast Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Cruiser-Destroyer (CRUDES) Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise.
“The first East Coast SWATT is a milestone event not only for the Surface Fleet, but also for the Navy as a whole as we continue to focus on the development of tactical proficiency and lethality which is of strategic value and importance in this era of great power competition,” said Rear Adm. John F. G. Wade, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12.
“To be able to hear the reports of the increased capability of these warships through SWATT, and to lead their Live Fire With a Purpose exercises in conjunction with my prior command [SMWDC], was a great honor. The teams that worked together to put this together were exemplary of the best our Navy has to offer.”
SWATT exercises provide dedicated in port and underway training periods particularly focused on the development of Air Defense and Sea Combat Commanders, ships and watch teams. In particular, SWATTs provide focused training to support naval sea control including integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), anti-submarine/surface warfare (ASW/SUW), amphibious warfare, mine warfare and information warfare, all with an eye on CSG interoperability and increased lethality across the surface fleet.
Units involved in the exercises were Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, with cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and destroyers USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Mason (DDG 87), and USS Nitze (DDG 94).
Commands supporting the exercise include Fleet Forces Atlantic Exercise Coordination Center (FFAECC), Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) Virginia Capes (VACAPES), Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), Information Warfare Training Group (IWTG) Norfolk, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona, Tactical Training Group Atlantic (TTGL), and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 detachment 1.
While not always completed during SWATT, ships in the ABESG leveraged the underway training period to conduct Live Fire With a Purpose (LFWAP) exercises as well.
“[LFWAP] provided practical and effective training to the crew,” said Capt. William G. Musser, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf and the ABESG Air Defense Commander. “WTIs were very professional in their mentorship and provided us with knowledge to improve our lethality on established tactics and procedures.”
LFWAP is an enhanced missile exercise program that provides a more robust training engagement for watch teams and ships. SMWDC serves as the executive agent for Commander, US Pacific Fleet and Commander, US Fleet Forces Command for the program, though tactical control of the events is exercised by the Strike Group Air Defense Commander and overseen by the Strike Group Commander.