Tag Archives: United States Navy

Military dolphins from US to take part in NATO summer exercises in the Black Sea

MOSCOW, April 21, ITAR-TASS

American military dolphins will take part in NATO’s forthcoming summer exercises in the Black Sea, Tom LaPuzza, spokesman for the US Navy’s marine mammals program, told the newspaper Izvestia. He said those would be NATO’s first exercises involving military dolphins.

“It may so happen that American and Russian military dolphins will meet in the open sea for the first time: it is known that such dolphins are trained only in Russia and the USA,” the newspaper writes.

LaPuzza says the exercises involving 20 dolphins and 10 sea lions will continue for about one to two weeks (the maximum permissible period for the stay of (naval craft of) countries which have no outlet to the Black Sea is 21 days).

LaPuzza said that when in the Blacks Sea the American dolphins would test a new anti-radar which is designed to “disorientate enemy sonars while sea lions would look for mines and naval divers”.

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Two more “pings” detected in search for MH370

An Australian ship detected two new “ping signals” Tuesday, while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

An Australian ship detected two new “ping signals” Tuesday, while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Two new “ping” signals have been detected in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, reviving confidence in the month-old hunt, Australian officials said on Wednesday.

Australian ship Ocean Shield detected one ping that lasted for over five minutes on Tuesday afternoon, while a second one was detected on Tuesday night and lasted for about seven minutes, Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, said.

“Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasions, late yesterday afternoon and later last night,” Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Center said.

“I believe we are searching in the right area but we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370,” Houston added.

The U.S. Navy “ping locater” detected two signals that were consistent with black box beacons. The first lasted for more than two hours while the second was only for about 13 minutes.

Flights’ black boxes record cockpit data, and could provide information on the fate of the plane, but the batteries in the beacons have already exceeded their 30-day life expectancy.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Its signal disappeared after it flew thousands of kilometers into the Indian Ocean towards Beijing, its destination.

Satellite data analysts and investigators centered the search to an approximate area of 2,261 kilometers northwest Australia’s Perth, in a remote area where they concluded the Boeing 777 could be.

The new signals may allow searchers to narrow the area even more.

“Now hopefully with lots of transmissions we’ll have a tight, small area and hopefully in a matter of days we will be able to find something on the bottom,” Houston said.

While authorities did not rule out the possibility of mechanical problems leading to the disappearance of the plane, they said evidence suggests the plane was deliberately diverted by someone familiar with the aircraft.

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MH370 search could take years, U.S. navy official says, as nations race to find black box before its too late

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could take years, a senior U.S. Navy official said Sunday, as search and rescue officials raced to locate the plane’s black box recorder days before its batteries are set to die.

Ten ships and as many aircraft are searching a massive area in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, in Australia, trying to find some trace of the aircraft, which went missing more than three weeks ago and is presumed to have crashed.

The Malaysian government announced moves to tighten airport security, but the head of the U.S. senate intelligence committee said there was no evidence that terrorism had any role to play in the flight’s disappearance. “There’s speculation, but there’s nothing,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. “This is a very difficult mission.”

Among the vessels to join the search is an Australian defence force ship, the Ocean Shield, that has been fitted with a sophisticated U.S. black box locator and an underwater drone.

Captain Mark Matthews, a U.S. navy officer who is in charge of the black box pinger detector, said the search area of 123,000 square miles needs to be significantly reduced before there is any serious prospect of finding the black box.

“Right now the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which would take an untenable amount of time to search,” he said.

Todd Curtis, an aviation expert and former Boeing engineer, warned that the hunt for the plane could last for years.

He said the black box was unlikely to be found before its 30-day pinger, which helps searchers to locate both the box and the plane, runs out of battery life in about a week.

“The likelihood of finding the plane quickly, especially given the pinger will soon end, is going down astronomically,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Even if they found the debris today, there is the problem of estimating where it drifted over the past three weeks and then estimating the new area. It all has the potential to take much more than two years.”

Dr Curtis said the search was likely to be “very prolonged” and may end in failure. “There is a chance they will never find the plane,” he said.

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The failure to find any wreckage from the plane has been harrowing for the families of the 239 passengers, many of whom continue to cling to the hope that survivors will be found.

Twenty-nine distraught Chinese family members flew to Malaysia yesterday, demanding that the authorities “reveal the truth” and “hand over the murderer.” At an emotive press conference they chanted: “We want the evidence, we want the truth, we want our families back.”

 National Post.

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US Navy SEALs board tanker hijacked in Libya

navy seals board ship

navy seals board ship

TRIPOLI, Libya: The Libyan government on Monday thanked the United States for a Navy SEALs operation that stopped a North Korean-flagged oil tanker from exporting crude loaded onto it by an autonomy-seeking eastern militia.

The SEALs took control of the Morning Glory late Sunday while it was in international waters near Cyprus, the Pentagon said in a statement. Rear Adm. John Kirby said no one was injured in the operation, which was approved by President Barack Obama.

It said that the tanker will return to Libya under the control of sailors from the USS Stout. It was not clear which Libyan port the vessel was sailing for. North Korea says it has nothing to do with the ship.

The vessel, whose ownership remains a mystery, sparked political tension in the country after it sailed away with a cargo worth more than 30 million dollars from the port of al-Sidra, in eastern Libya, despite government attempts to seize it. The parliament, which had a long rivalry with then-Prime Minister Ali Zidan, used the crisis to vote him out, saying it had underlined his weakness.

The port is among three of the country’s largest oil terminals, which since last summer have been seized by rebels who demand greater autonomy and equal distribution of oil revenues among the country’s three historic regions.

Cyprus is monitoring the tanker, which had been anchored some 18 nautical miles off its southern coastal town of Limassol when U.S. special forces took control, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Adding that the ship was now sailing “in a westward direction” with a U.S. Navy escort.

Libya’s interim government said in a statement Monday that the oil cargo will be unloaded when it arrives in Libya. The crew is safe and will be dealt with in accordance with international law, it added.

“The interim government thanks and appreciates all who contributed to this work … especially international partners, above all the governments of the United States and the Republic of Cyprus,” the government said in a statement, adding: “the oil is the backbone of the national economy and tampering with it … is unacceptable.”

On her Twitter account, US Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones wrote, “glad we were able to respond positively to Libya’s request for help in preventing illegal sale of its oil on stateless ship.”

Since the downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has struggled to rein in unruly militias, most of which stem from the rebellion that overthrew him.

The attempt to sell oil from the seized terminals was a first, a daring move made by an eastern militia led by former rebel fighter named Ibrahim Jedran, who controls the most vital terminals for the country’s so-called Oil Crescent. He is a founding member of a body known as the Cyrenaica Political Bureau, named after Libya’s eastern region, which aims to replace the state oil company and distribute revenues more equitably itself.

Bureau member Essam al-Jihani on Monday said the tanker incident had drawn international attention to the region’s cause. Speaking by telephone from Ajdabiya, close to al-Sidra port, he said his group is preparing to load a second tanker for export, although it was not possible to verify his claims.

As the tanker crisis appeared to come to an end, a car bomb struck just outside the gates of a military technical school in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing nine soldiers and wounding at least others, Libya’s state news agency and officials said. Hours later, a second blast from a car bomb rocked a central district in the city, killing one person, a security official said.

The first car bomb, which was loaded with explosives, went off as cadets were leaving after an inauguration ceremony, the LANA news agency reported. It said the explosion tore the facade off shops and destroyed several cars in the area.

Bodies of the slain officers and the wounded were taken to the Benghazi Medical Center, security and medical officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Initial reports had said that 14 people were wounded in the bombing, but disparate figures are common in the immediate aftermath of large attacks.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that led to Gadhafi’s downfall, has seen a sharp rise in attacks and assassinations targeting military and police troops. The city was the scene of a brazen militant attack on the U.S. Consulate on Sept. 11, 2012 which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Assassins kill former officers, judges, and activists on a near daily basis in Libya’s east, which includes Benghazi and the Islamist-stronghold of Darna.

 

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US warship in Black Sea as Ukraine’s Crimea readies for referendum

The “USS Truxtun” destroyer

US Navy destroyer, the USS Truxtun, has crossed Turkey’s Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. With the Crimea Peninsula getting ready to hold a referendum on independence from Ukraine in a week, the US is ramping up its military presence in the region.

USS Truxton is heading to “previously planned” training exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies, AFP reported earlier. At the same time, Fox News declared that NATO’s bolstering presence in the Black Sea is a “defensive” measure to counter “Russian military aggression” in Ukraine.

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USS Truxton, with a crew of about 300, is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer equipped with the Aegis combat system, which integrates the ship’s radar, sensors and missile weapons to engage anti-ship missile threats. The warship is part of the USS George W. Bush Carrier Strike Group currently stationed in Greece. The carrier is not expected to move into the Black Sea in respect of the Montreux Convention of 1936, which closed Turkish Bosphorus and Dardanelles for ships with deadweight over 45,000 tons. With its 97,000 tons, the USS George W. Bush is the world’s largest warship.

USS Truxton has taken up the baton of American military presence in the region from frigate USS Taylor, which ran aground in the Turkish port of Samsun in the Black Sea last month, with a broken propeller hub and blades. On Friday, a tugboat began to tow the damaged warship to Greece’s island of Crete, where it will be repaired at the US Navy base in Souda Bay.

USS Truxton will reportedly stay in the Black Sea till mid-March. The Montreux Convention allows a warship of any non-Black Sea country to stay in the region for 21 day only.

During the military conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, an American ship was also present in the Black Sea with reconnaissance and an officially proclaimed humanitarian mission. In September 2008, the US costal guard ship, Dallas, docked at Sevastopol harbor with a secret mission and had to leave in haste because of mass local protest.

Given the present conditions, an American battleship is highly unlikely to get anywhere near the Crimea shores, let alone Sevastopol, without a risk of repeating a hasty exit from the past.

On February 12, 1988, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the USS Yorktown, and a Spruance-class destroyer, the USS Caron, had to flee from Soviet territorial waters off the Crimean Peninsula. After the two American warships ignored the Soviet Navy’s demands to leave country’s territorial waters immediately, the Soviet frigate, Bezzavetny, simply rammed both American ships, forcing them to comply with international maritime rules.

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Navy destroyer USS Truxtun crosses Dardanelles en route to Black Sea (VIDEO)

The US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, crossed the Dardanelles on its way to the Black Sea amidst the turmoil in Ukraine.

The Dardanelles is a narrow stretch of water in Turkey that separates Europe and Asia. The Truxton still has to pass through the Bosphorus Straights in Istanbul before it reaches the Black Sea.

The Truxton is part of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer and is among the largest destroyers ever built for the US navy. It is designed as a multi-role warship with anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities.

The US military said on Thursday it was a routine deployment for “previously planned exercises” scheduled long before the current crisis in Ukraine.

The USS Truxton is to carry out training exercise with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies, both members of NATO, which involve joint maneuvers including landing aircraft on ships.

“Truxton’s operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the US,” said Lieutenant Shawn Eklund, a spokesman for the US military.

The Truxton is part of the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group, which recently entered the Mediterranean and is training with regional navies.

Ukrainian bloggers share the images of the nuclear aircraft carrier with the hashtag #Aquamaidan, in reference to Euromaidan, which was the epicenter of the anti-government protests in Kiev.

The USS Truxton will join the USS Taylor as the only two US vessels in the Black Sea. The Taylor, a guided missile frigate, is moored in Samsun, Turkey after running aground in February.

This comes as Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, said on Thursday that the US air force will send 12 F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland next week to take part in a training exercise, whose size has been expanded in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

The exercise will be centered on the Lask air force base in central Poland and was originally only to have involved transport aircraft.

The US military also announced on Thursday that a further six F-15 fighter jets will be sent to Lithuania to help step up NATO patrols in the region.

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Navy destroyer USS Truxtun crosses Dardanelles en route to Black Sea

The nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser USS TRUXTUN

The US Navy destroyer USS Truxtun has reportedly crossed the Dardanelles on Friday, as it heads into the Black Sea. The US Navy earlier announced the guided missile destroyer’s “routine” deployment to conduct training with the Romanian and Bulgarian navy, saying it had been decided long before the crisis in Ukraine. The ship left Greece on Thursday and is expected to cross the Bosphorus later Friday.

US navy confirms missile destroyer USS Truxtun approaching the Black Sea — RT News.

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US navy confirms missile destroyer USS Truxton approaching the Black Sea

The nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Truxtun, DDG-103

The US Navy has confirmed that a guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, is heading to the Black Sea, for what the US military said is a “routine” deployment, decided long before the crisis in Ukraine, which has divided world powers.

The US Navy said in a statement that the USS Truxton left Greece on Thursday on the way to the Black Sea and was going to conduct training with the Romanian and Bulgarian navy.

“While in the Black Sea, the ship will conduct a port visit and routine, previously planned exercises with allies and partners in the region,” The US Navy said in statement.

“Truxton’s operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the United States,” the statement added.

The ship has a crew of about 300 and is part of an aircraft carrier strike group that left the US in mid-February.

The announcement comes after Turkish authorities confirmed on Wednesday they had given permission to a US navy warship to pass through the Bosphorus Straights, which is the only entrance to the Black Sea, it was reported in the Hurriyet Daily News.

However, Turkish sources told the Hurriyet Daily News that the ship in question was not the nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, as was suggested in some news reports. The USS George Bush is too heavy in terms of tonnage to meet the standards of the Montreaux Convention, which governs what can and can’t access the Black Sea.

The Pentagon also said on Wednesday that US fighter jets would join NATO patrols on missions in the Baltic countries, which include Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

On Sunday the Tass news agency reported that the guided missile frigate USS Taylor, which had been assigned to the Black Sea for the Sochi Winter Olympics, was still in the Turkish port of Samsun for repairs, after running aground on February 12.

Two Russian navy ships also entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus on Tuesday, as well as a Ukrainian navy vessel which was heading for Odessa and not the Crimea.

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U.S. Navy drafts evacuation plan to ‘go afloat’ in case of Bahraini crisis | World Tribune

MOSCOW — The United States has been drafting plans for a rapid naval evacuation from Bahrain.

Officials said the U.S. Navy has conducted an exercise that envisioned acrisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom.

[Related stories: Bahrain, U.S. embassy deny reports of statements attributed to Gen. Shelton, Oct. 8 and Former Joint Chiefs chairman: Obama plotted to destabilize regimes in Bahrain, Egypt, Oct. 3]

The officials said the Navy sought to determine whether it could evacuate its Fifth Fleet headquarters to ships offshore.

“My plan B in a crisis is to go afloat,” U.S. Navy operations chief Adm. Jonathan Greenert said.

In an address to the Naval War College on Oct. 25, Greenert acknowledged the Shi’ite unrest in Bahrain. He said the Navy was monitoring the attacks on Bahraini security forces and foreign nationals to determine the safety of American personnel.

“Their internal security is something we watch,” Greenert said. “I don’t want to call it an insurgency. That’s too strong.”

Officials said the Navy conducted a crisis evacuation exercise on Oct.
25 to transfer onshore operations to offshore facilities. They said the
exercise was conducted by the Fifth Fleet off the coast of Bahrain and by the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

“But there is no real good long-term alternative like Bahrain that we
have over there,” Greenert said.

Greenert said the Navy was helping Bahrain enhance counter-insurgency operations. He said Manama has been reliable in supporting the Fifth Fleet.

“We’ve been in Bahrain 60 years and they’ve been really with us every
time,” Greenert said. “They’ve been a solid ally and friend.”

U.S. Navy drafts evacuation plan to ‘go afloat’ in case of Bahraini crisis | World Tribune.