ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 14, 2019) â€“ U.S. Navy coastal patrol ships and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats conducted an annual test of the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf Dec. 10-14.
The annual exercise was conducted with the improved Griffin Missile System (GMS) to test ship interoperability, weapon tactics employment, and new system upgrades.
“This system improves combat capability on our 10 Patrol Craft, ready to work with regional partners and respond to threats; able to maneuver and strike from a distance,” said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S 5th Fleet.
Exercise participates included Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) patrol coastal ships USS Sirocco (PC 6), USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Squall (PC 7), USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Whirlwind (PC 11) and island class patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB-1333), USCGC Aquidneck (WPB-1309), and USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318).
The ships also conducted live fire exercises with their Mark 38 25mm machine guns and other crew served weapons to maintain operator proficiency and test new equipment upgrades for future missions.
“The data collected from this year’s exercise will help improve the GMS to provide increased lethality amongst our FDNF ships,” Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins, commanding officer of the Sirocco. “Each participating ship can apply lessons learned to sharpen individual tactics and procedures to increase precision in weapons employment.”
Eager to integrate and demonstrate the upgraded GMS into their ships’ systems, each captain was impressed with its capabilities and the crew’s performance during the exercise.
“This year’s Fire Exercise (FIREX) was an outstanding opportunity for the crews to test our skills and the capabilities of one of our primary weapons systems,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dale Tourtelotte of the Hurricane. “It was exciting to see my crew and the various technical experts come together and execute the FIREX successfully.”
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
“This exercise addresses a validated requirement to out-pace and decisively defeat small boat threats at a distance,” said Vice Adm. Malloy. “We can hold any attacker at risk by employing speed combined with accurate striking power,” said Vice Adm. Malloy.