Home Americas US Navy, Air Force sink decommissioned frigate Curts during Valiant Shield

US Navy, Air Force sink decommissioned frigate Curts during Valiant Shield

Harpoon missile targeting ex-USS Curts
Guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) launches a Harpoon missile during the SINKEX. Photo: US Navy

The US armed forces sank the decommissioned frigate USS Curts (FFG 38) during a live-fire missile exercise conducted as part of exercise Valiant Shield 2020 on September 19.

US Navy and Air Force assets launched surface, air, and subsurface ordinance to sink the former frigate.

The sinking exercise (SINKEX) combined an orchestrated sequence of live ordnance targeting the ex-USS Curts, including air-launched ordnance from fixed and rotary wing squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), surface-launched missiles from cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and Shiloh (CG 67), a subsurface launched missile from Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721), as well as various supporting Navy and US Air Force aircraft.

“This exercise demonstrates our ability to bring overwhelming firepower from the sea whether that comes from under the surface, on the surface, or from the air,” said Capt. Steven DeMoss, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. “We have this capability in every theater across the globe and can employ these weapons at the place and time of our choosing.”

Air Force assets included tanker support from KC-135s and KC-10s of the 909th Air Refueling Squadron and 9th ARS, respectively.

“The SINKEX provided unique, high end, tactical training for our air wing aviators,” said Capt. Michael Rovenolt, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5. “The experience gained by our crews can only be achieved with live fire events like this one and cannot be replicated through simulated engagements. Our ordnance and maintenance teams got the satisfaction of seeing their labors produce actual results on a maritime target…very rewarding for them.”

Valiant Shield is a US only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on the integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among US forces. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.

This is the eighth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006. Participants include USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, USS Chicago (SSN 721), USS America (LHA 6), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and multiple surface ships — approximately 100 aircraft and an estimated 11,000 personnel from the US Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps.