CAVASSHIPS Podcast [Apr 19, ’24] Ep: 141 Around the Maritime World w/ Brent Sadler


Welcome to the CavasShips Podcast with Christopher P. Cavas and Chris Servello…a weekly podcast looking at naval and maritime events and issues of the day – in the US, across the seas and around the world. This week…Around the seas, around the globe, we take a look at the maritime situation in the Black Sea, the Mideast, the South China Sea – and Baltimore with naval and international analyst Brent Sadler.

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This Week’s Naval Round Up:

Destroyers Arleigh Burke and Carney took part in the defense of Israel the evening of April 13-14 during the Iranian missile and drone attacks, the Pentagon said. The ships had been stationed off the Israeli coast in the eastern Mediterranean in anticipation of the attacks. USNI News reported on April 15 that, for the first time in combat, Standard SM-3 anti-ballistic missile missiles were used to repel Iranian ballistic missiles. Reportedly the two destroyers successfully launched between three and seven SM-3s at the Iranian weapons. It is not clear which specific version of the SM-3 was used in the engagements. US and British aircraft were confirmed as joining Israeli aircraft in beating back the attacks, but the Pentagon said aircraft from the carrier USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER did not take part. The EISENHOWER is thought to still be underway in the Red Sea.

A US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft carried out a Taiwan Strait transit on April 17. It was the first time this year a P-8A flew the Strait, although similar missions were carried out five times in 2023.

The carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT joined with Japanese and Republic of Korea warships April 11 to 12 for a trilateral maritime exercise in the western Pacific. It was the latest in a series of US-Japanese-Korean exercises intended to demonstrate mutual resolve in the region.

Japan announced April 16 it would include its two largest aircraft carriers, the IZUMO and KAGA, in the largest deployment to date for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Joined by two destroyers, a frigate, an amphibious ship, submarines and multiple aircraft, the operation, dubbed Indo-Pacific Deployment 2024, will begin May 3 and run through mid-December. The Japanese ships will take part in multiple exercises ranging across the Indo-Pacific region, including US-sponsored RIMPAC 2024 exercises near Hawaii in mid-summer. KAGA completed in late March the first phase of her conversion to operate F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, having earlier operated only helicopters, and IZUMO will be similarly converted.

As we reported earlier, the amphibious assault ship BOXER, her deployment delayed by more than two months by several on-board problems, finally left San Diego April 1 to begin a western Pacific deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. But the BOXER returned to San Diego on April 11 needing rudder repairs to continue the deployment. A week later, Navy maintenance officials were still trying to find ways to assess the damage and figure a way ahead. Meanwhile the other two amphibious ships of the Amphibious Ready Group, SOMERSET and HARPERS FERRY, were operating in the western Indo-Pacific region. SOMERSET left San Diego apparently on time in mid-January to begin a planned series of exercises, while HARPERS FERRY was also late in deploying and didn’t leave the west coast until March 19. A recent command investigation of the BOXER found numerous leadership and maintenance problems with the ship. As a result of the problems with the BOXER there is at the moment no deployed US Navy big-deck assault ship.

US Navy and Marine Corps T-45C Goshawk jet training aircraft were placed on an operational pause April 15 after a T-45 experienced an in-flight engine malfunction over Mississippi on April 12, USNI News reported. The two-person crew of the aircraft landed with no injuries. While Naval Air Systems Command has not issued a grounding bulletin, the pause on T-45 flying operations continued into April 19.

The US Navy is set to fall short of its fiscal year 2024 recruiting goals by 6,700 sailors, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Richard Cheeseman told Congress April 17, reflecting a trend the service predicted earlier this year. Even so, Cheeseman said, the service has 2,500 more recruits than at this time a year ago, and as he told us in January, sailor and officer retention  continues to meet service goals. The Marine Corps also is on track to meet recruiting and retention goals.

In new ship news, the amphibious transport dock RICHARD M McCOOL JR LPD-29 was delivered April 11 from HII Ingalls Shipbuilding. The ship is the second Flight I+ variant of the LPD-17 San Antonio class and the first ship in the Navy fitted with the SPY-6(V)2 radar, a smaller, rotating version of the larger fixed phased array fitted on Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers.

And a keel ceremony was held April 12 for the new frigate CONSTELLATION FFG-62 at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin.

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