JULY 9, 2015, TIMOR SEA (NNS) – The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG), the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy completed a dynamic war-at-sea exercise (WASEX) as part of Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS15), July 8-9.
WASEX simulated searching for and engaging hostile surface warships in order to improve joint interoperability, assess carrier strike group operations and to defend against maritime threats.
“Our goal was to practice neutralizing surface threats that might attack the carrier strike group,” said Lt. Michael Beer, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 exercises and engagements officer. “We used the air wing’s distance and striking power to eliminate the threat before it can get close enough to engage us.”
In order to demonstrate a conflict at sea, two Royal Australian Navy and two Royal New Zealand Navy ships acted as aggressors while the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Mustin (DDG 89) maneuvered and counter-attacked the simulated threat according to Beer.
Additionally, communications and target tracking were improved during the exercise.
“We had some minor difficulties with communication circuits between the strike groups, but we were able to obtain the latitudes and longitudes of the threats and overcome obstacles very quickly,” said Beer.
TS15 enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea and in the air in response to various mission areas.
TS15 is a biennial land, sea and air military training exercise between U.S. and Australian forces that features more than 33,000 personnel, 21 ships, 200 aircraft and three submarines, which increases U.S.-Australian interoperability to respond to a wide variety of contingencies and maintain security, peace, and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.