CAVASSHIPS Podcast [May 10, ’24] Ep: 144 Naval Special Warfare’s Renaissance


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…We dive into Naval Special Warfare’s return to competition as it focuses on more traditional Cold War era roles. Retired Navy Captain and former special operations spokesman Jason Salata joins us from the sidelines of the SOFWEEK conference and trade show in Tampa to discuss. 

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This Week’s Naval Round Up:

China’s new aircraft carrier FUJIAN carried out initial sea trials from May 1 to 8, focusing on propulsion and electrical system. The trials, Chinese media said, “achieved the expected results.” The first-of-class ship is expected to carry out several more trials before being delivered to the Chinese Navy.

The carrier USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER was back in the Red Sea by May 6, USNI News reported, after a taking a rest stop at Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. IKE deployed from Norfolk on October 14 with Carrier Air Wing Three and has been out nearly seven months on a deployment extended to provide protection to merchant shipping from Yemen-based Houthi attacks. Since December 2021, the three carrier strike groups that deployed prior to the EISENHOWER have averaged 260-day cruises. Ike’s now is approaching 200 days.

The destroyer USS HALSEY carried out a Taiwan Strait transit on May 8, closely monitored by Chinese forces. It was the third US Navy surface transit of the strait this year, plus another by a P-8 aircraft.

The Philippines and US navies carried out live-fire exercises off the northern Luzon coast in the South China Sea on May 8, highlighted by the sinking of the target ship LAKE CALIRAYA, a former Philippine Navy oiler decommissioned in 2020. The target ship, originally built in China as a merchant tanker, was hit by C-Star anti-ship cruise missiles launched from the Philippine frigate JOSE RIZAL along with other weapons. The SINKEX came about as Philippine, US, Australian and French forces wrapped up Balikatan joint exercises.

The German frigate HESSEN returned to its homeport of Wilhelmshaven on May 5 after a two and a half month deployment to the Red Sea with the European-led Operation Aspides. While HESSEN conducted several successful actions against Houthi unmanned aircraft and surface craft, the ship also experienced an abortive friendly fire incident as well as technical issues, Naval News reported. The next German ship to deploy to the region is scheduled to be the frigate HAMBURG, in August.

And on May 7 the German Navy kicked off Indo-Pacific Deployment 2024, as the frigate BADEN-WURTTEMBERG and combat support ship FRANKFURT AM MAIN began crossing the Atlantic at the beginning of what is planned to be a round-the-world deployment. The ships will stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and New York City before heading to the Pacific, where they’re expected to take part in mid-summer RIMPAC exercises with the US Navy.

In new ship news, the USNS EARL WARREN T-AO 207, third ship of the John Lewis-class of fleet oilers, was delivered to the US Navy May 7 from General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego for operation by the Military Sealift Command. Six more ships in the class are in various stages of construction at GD NASSCO.

And the future Virginia-class attack submarine SSN 811 will be named USS MIAMI, Navy Secretary Del Toro announced May 7 during Miami Fleet Week. The ship’s sponsor will be singer Gloria Estefan. The MIAMI will be delivered from HII Newport News Shipbuilding.

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