CARIBBEAN SEA – San Diego-based frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) conducted live fire exercises during the second day of the UNITAS 2013 multinational maritime exercise while assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet, Sept 10.
The crew of Rentz fired both their 76mm MK 75 main cannon battery and .50 caliber machine guns against a remote controlled unmanned surface target simulating a small, fast boat approaching the ship in a hostile manner.
“This is the best training we have seen during our entire training cycle, we have nothing like this and to have an actual “living” target that is moving independently of the ship forcing us to maneuver to get batteries released, that is priceless training, “ Commanding Officer, Cdmr. Lance Lantier, USS Rentz (FFG 46), said.
The drone target, called a Hammerhead, is small unmanned fast boat owned and controlled by operators aboard the Canadian ship HMCS Preserver, also participating in the exercise. Surface combatant ships from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, United Kingdom and Canada participated in the exercise to detect, track and engage the fast moving target.
The target was eventually sunk by surface gunfire from the Canadian destroyer HMCS Irouqis (F 280).
UNITAS is intended to train participating forces in a variety of maritime scenarios to test command and control of forces at sea, while operating as a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability.
"While the overarching goal of the exercise is to develop and test command and control of partner forces at sea, training in this exercise including live fire exercises, will help address the entire spectrum of maritime operations," Commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet, Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris said.
UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of both U.S. forces and partner nation maritime forces through intricate and inclusive multinational training at sea.
This year’s exercise is hosted by the Colombian Navy and includes nineteen warships that will conduct operations in the Western Caribbean Sea through, Sept. 15.
The next UNITAS exercise is scheduled for spring 2014 and is to be hosted by the Mexican Navy.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).