The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) had the rare opportunity to train with French crew this month when she conducted a series of at-sea submarine exercises with the Rubis-class nuclear powered submarine (SSN) FS Émeraude. Émeraude and the Loire-class support and assistance vessel (BSAM type) FS Seine are on a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. Asheville and Émeraude used the opportunity to practice high-end maritime skills over the course of several days in a multitude of disciplines designed to enhance interoperability between maritime forces.Émeraude and Seine also recently visited U.S. Naval Base Guam, home of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Squadron (CSS) 15, Nov. 30, as part of their Western Pacific deployment. Squadron leadership was the first to welcome them to the Tip of the Spear.
Émeraude is a nuclear attack submarine from the first generation of attack submarines of the French Navy. The boat is the fourth of the Rubis series. Between May 1994 and December 1995, the boat undertook a major refitting, which upgraded capabilities to the level of the Améthyste. On 30 March 1994, an accidental explosion occurred in the engine compartment while the boat was engaged in a naval exercise off Toulon. The explosion killed ten men, including the commander, who were examining the turbo-alternator room. The boat returned to base under diesel and battery power. In June 2009, the Émeraude was sent to the mid Atlantic to aid in the search for the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the ill-fated Air France Flight 447.
“It is important to leverage our strong strategic partnerships in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific area, especially in these challenging times, when maritime security is threatened by transnational health and political crises,” said Émeraude’s commanding officer. “The willingness of both the U.S. Navy and JMSDF to conduct anti-surface and anti-submarine exercises with us is a positive example of the cooperative relationship our navies enjoy.”
“The opportunity to tactically employ the boat in a multilateral exercise was beneficial to our overall training for forward deployed operations in the Indo-Pacific AOR,” said Cmdr. Thomas Bullock, commanding officer of Asheville. “Exercises of this nature emphasize the importance of interoperability and improve our warfighting skills.”
Asheville is one of four Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines assigned CSS-15, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet’s area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region.