Army gives Royal Canadian Navy subs sight
July 12, 2012
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- When members of the Royal Canadian Navy learned they would be working closely with American forces participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or RIMPAC, they didn't anticipate that it would be the U.S. Army.
Soldiers of the 605th Transportation Detachment, 545th Transportation Company, 524th Combat Service Support Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, employed the unique capabilities of the Army's logistical support vessel (LSV) in a joint sonar exercise Monday, July 9, with the crew of the Royal Canadian Navy' HMCS Victoria, a Victoria-class submarine. The joint exercise marked the first sonar-sea test for the recently fielded sub.
"We picked up one of their extended sonar cables to extend the reach of their sonar capabilities," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Richard Garcia, of 605th Trans. Det., vessel master of LSV-2 Chief Warrant Officer 3 Harold C. Clinger. "It was a great opportunity for our Soldiers to see something different and to experience some real-world training. We overcame obstacles to get the mission completed. We enjoyed facilitating our neighbors to the north and if given the opportunity, we would do it again."
Every two years, more than 20 countries across the Pacific coast participate in RIMPAC, the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. This year's exercise being held in Pearl Harbor began in June and runs through July. It marks the 23rd biennial exercise since its inception in 1971. RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.
Although, the Royal Canadian Navy seamen described being taken aback when they learned that they would be working with the U.S. Army and not the U.S. Navy, the LSV and crew quickly proved more than capable.
The LSV's primary mission supports U.S. military operations worldwide by providing necessary equipment, supplies and troop movements. Their support is as far reaching as Southwest Asia, the Caribbean and as close as the neighboring islands of Hawaii.
"Typically we support all aspects of infantry equipment from Oahu to the big island and beyond in support of the war fighter in Afghanistan," added Garcia.
This day, the LSV crew saw something completely different, but was up to the challenge.
"Usually when we work with navies, we work with navies," said Royal Canadian Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class John Casey, weapons engineering technician. "We're not used to seeing Soldiers at sea, so it has been a unique experience for us. But, the guys and girls here have been great, and it has been great working with them. They understand what we need and what we're doing. If given the opportunity we would want to work with the Army again!"
The submarine is a diesel-electric hybrid, designed in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. After being decommissioned by the U.K., Canada purchased the submarines in 1998 and this is the first sonar sea-test given to the sub since its purchase.
The HMCS Victoria surfaced beside the 605th's LSV effectively handing over a thick wire filled with fiber-optics. Once the wire was connected between the two vessels, the submarine used the equipment on the LSV to listen with their sonar. The official name for the sonar is a 'towed array sonar.'
Towed array sonar is basically a long cable -- with hydrophones or small microphones placed at specific distances along the cable -- that is trailed behind the ship when deployed, according to Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ben Thomson, submarine technical officer. The array's hydrophones can detect sound sources, but the real value of the array is that it can be used, not only to calculate the distance and the direction of a sound source, but determine the type of ship based on machinery noise.