The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings (LCS 15) and the Dominican Republic Navy conducted a bilateral maritime interdiction exercise off the coast of Santo Domingo, October 24, 2021.
During the exercise, forces worked together to find, track and intercept a simulated drug smuggling vessel, to ultimately gain positive control of the craft.
Billings deployed her 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) as the simulated go-fast smuggler track of interest (TOI) and her MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to the “Snowmen” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Detachment 5, while the Dominican navy participated with coastal patrol vessel Canopus (GC 107).
Following the interdiction exercise, MV Kellie Chouest joined the ships to practice a series of tactical shipboard movements and formations, also testing maritime command and control capabilities.
The training helped to improve interoperability and demonstrate the strategic partnership with the Dominican Republic that helps facilitate conducting naval operations against emerging threats in the region.
“It was a great opportunity to once again work with our partners from the Dominican Republic,” said Cmdr. Brett Seeley, commanding officer of Billings. “Having the chance to operate together for a second time on our deployment reinforces previous training and allows us to build upon what we learned from the first exercise.”
The Kellie Chouest is special mission ship that provides an additional capability for detection and monitoring of counter illicit drug trafficking. The SMS allows for command and control, afloat forward staging base and serves as a logistics support vessel to build our partner nation’s capacity in support of operations in the AOR.
Billings conducted a similar interdiction exercise with the Dominican Republic July 10, with coastal patrol vessel Canopus (GC 107), and Justice Boston whaler-class boat Nunki (LI-163) following a three-day port visit to Santo Domingo where they held a reception hosting the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Mr. Luis Rodolfo Abinader, and other distinguished guests.