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NEWS | May 1, 2022

Royal Australian Navy Conducts Weapons Handling Exercise with USS Springfield

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Trejo, USS Frank Cable (AS 40) Pulblic Affairs

The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) completed a weapons handling exercise involving the transfer of an inert training shape from Royal Australian Navy assets ashore to the submarine, while moored at HMAS Stirling navy base, April 28, 2022.

The exercise included the handling of a Harpoon inert training shape and demonstrated the increased submarine logistics capabilities present in Australia. Springfield Sailors worked alongside Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force personnel to complete the exercise safely and efficiently.

“Our relationship with Australia has never been stronger,” said Cmdr. Andy Domina, Springfield’s commanding officer. “Proving that we can conduct an expeditionary weapon reload here in HMAS Stirling – I think – just strengthens that bond between us even further.”

Personnel ashore first transferred the deck skid and all associated weapon handling gear to Springfield via crane, where it was assembled and attached to the submarine before transferring the inert shape. This was the first instance of a U.S. Navy submarine participating in a RAN-led weapons handling exercise, and the crews worked seamlessly with each other throughout the evolution.

“We both benefit from interoperability,” said Royal Australian NavyChief Petty Officer Scott Schluter, Submarine Weapons and Escape Manager at HMAS Stirling. “The U.S. Navy and the Australian navy are working in the same area of operations a lot more and I think this will assist us in being able to maintain a capability in the area and assist each other on the logistics side.”

Springfield conducted a similar exercise earlier in the week while moored alongside the Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40). RAN sailors observed that evolution, learning about the process from subject matter experts onboard both Frank Cable and Springfield before taking the lead transfer role in this evolution.

"This week at HMAS Stirling in Perth, Australia, USS Springfield is proving to our fleet commanders, and really to the world, that we can conduct an expeditionary weapons reload,” said Domina. “This gives our commanders another tool in their toolbox; the ability to reload a U.S. Navy submarine in an Australian port and get that ship back in the fight."

Springfield arrived at HMAS Stirling Naval Base, Australia, April 23, 2022 for a port visit as part of a routine deployment to the Western Pacific.

Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 6,900 tons when submerged, Springfield is one of the stealthiest, most technologically advanced submarines in the world. Los Angeles-class submarines support a multitude of missions, to include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, and strike warfare, making Springfield one of the most capable submarines in the world. Springfield is the fourth ship in U.S. Navy history to bear the name.

Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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