U.S. Navy assets kicked off Exercise Black Widow 2023 in the Hawaiian operating areas, Oct. 14, 2023. Black Widow is the premier tactical development exercise for U.S. undersea forces which integrates submarines, surface ships, and aircraft into a cohesive multi-domain team to track and engage simulated adversary submarines.
A significant aspect of Black Widow is the incorporation of real-world observations into the tactical development and training of units operating under a theater undersea warfare (TUSW) construct. During Black Widow 2023, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 34 will be the TUSW commander, and will exercise command and control over exercise forces to validate new tactics, techniques and procedures developed by the Undersea Warfighting Development Center.
At sea, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 will embark aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93) as the scene of action commander. In this role, DESRON 9 will maneuver its assigned units to search for and track a submarine during a scenario that will grow increasingly more complex over the course of the exercise.
Other units participating in this year’s exercise are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771), the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792), P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4, and MH-60R Sea Hawks from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, embarked aboard William P. Lawrence.
“The Black Widow exercise series is all about testing and preparing our undersea combat force for high-end anti-submarine warfare, integrated across platforms and domains,” said Rear Adm. Richard Seif, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander, Task Force 34. “This is the first time Black Widow is being held in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, an area of responsibility which spans more than half of the world’s oceans. These waters create a challenging environment for our undersea warfighting teams, and it is critically important that we work together to hone our skills in exercises like this one.”
Although previous iterations of this exercise have been held in the Atlantic, the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region requires that we continually exercise our forces in all warfare areas and maintain a high level of readiness.
The Pacific Submarine Force provides strategic deterrence, anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; precision land strike; intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and early warning; and special warfare capabilities around the globe.