September 19, 2018 – U.S. 5th Fleet’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 55 conducted missile and naval gun exercises against high speed maneuvering targets during a Griffin Missile System (GMS) fleet firing Sept. 16-18.
Coastal patrol ships USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Monsoon (PC 4), USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), USS Hurricane (PC 3), and USS Sirocco (PC 6) participated in the event, which was designed to enhance their ability to defend minesweepers and other coastal patrol ships from potential threats.
This fleet firing event was a great opportunity for CTF 55 patrol craft to maintain proficiency and increase lethality against small boats,” said Capt. Adan Cruz, commander destroyer squadron (COMDESRON) 50/ CTF 55 commodore. “The hard work, attention to detail and effective coordination between civilian agencies and military units paid great dividends and has been a tremendous success thus far.”
The exercise also provided the Sailors involved an opportunity to train and enhance their operational proficiency.
“We are conducting this event to give patrol craft an opportunity to gain valuable experience on their weapon systems,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jimmy Harmon, CTF 55 GMS fleet test director. “Griffin missiles extend their range and provide another tool in their arsenal.”
The GMS significantly extends the range of the ship’s self-defense capabilities and enhances the performance of core mission sets like maritime security operations, escort duties and defense of commercial shipping.
The surface-to-surface missile exercise is being conducted as part of the larger U.S. 5th Fleet Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise. U.S. 5th Fleet assets are concurrently participating in Bright Star 18, Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal (TACR) 18 and Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 18-3.
CTF 55 operates in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.