Home » Aviation » Truman Strike Group to Train with Norwegian Frigate, Deploy with German Frigate


Truman Strike Group to Train with Norwegian Frigate, Deploy with German Frigate

German Navy frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) approaches Pier 5 at Naval Station Norfolk on Jan. 28, 2018. Hessen is currently moored preparing for the ship’s participation in the Harry S. Truman Strike Group composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). US Navy photo.

A Norwegian and a German frigate are in Norfolk now to join the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group in its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) beginning this week, with the German ship remaining with the CSG during its upcoming overseas deployment.

The Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F 311) and the Sachsen-class German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) arrived at Naval Station Norfolk on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28, respectively, after more than seven months of planning for the integrated training event and deployment.

“Any time we can operate with another one of our allies anywhere in the world, we gain from it and they gain from it,” Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander of Truman CSG, said in a Navy news release.
“I’ve always had great success working with allies, and this is just a similar task with a more complex mission set. I’m very confident of our success and look forward to sailing with these two great ships.”

U.S. Fleet Forces Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki told USNI News that the ships have been preparing for more than seven months to work as an integrated strike group.

“The FGS Hessen and Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HMNoS Roald Amundsen have been fully integrated into the command and control structure, and are treated no differently than other U.S. ships in their primary warfare areas,” he told USNI News.
“This includes participation in COMPTUEX planning conferences, the strike group’s Warfare Commanders Conference, as well as the Fleet Synthetic Training – Group Commander (FST-GC) exercise held just prior to COMPUTEX.”

Additionally, “Hessen’s communication suite has been configured to include the Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) systems required to conduct operations with a U.S. Navy carrier strike group,” Wierzbicki said.
“A mutual declaration of intent was signed between the United States Navy and the Federal Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Germany delineating the command relationships and logistics support arrangements for the preparation, training and operational deployment with the Truman carrier strike group,” with the C4I upgrade coming as a result of that agreement.

Hessen deployed with the Truman CSG in 2010, in a previous display of international interoperability and cooperation, according to the Navy news release.

“We are looking forward to a challenging and exciting training with the U.S. Navy,” Hessen Commanding Officer Cmdr. Oliver Pfennig said in the news release.
“The integration of German warship Hessen in the carrier strike group requires a lot of trust in our capabilities, and we will perform professionally and competently in all upcoming CSG operations.”

Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HMNoS ROALD AMUNDSEN approaches Pier 4 at Naval Station Norfolk on Jan. 26, 2018. AMUNDSEN is currently moored preparing for the ship’s participation in the Harry S. Truman Strike Group composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). US Navy photo.

Wierzbicki told USNI News that Hessen will supplement the strike group, not replace any U.S. warship. Hessen, and Roald Amundsen during COMPTUEX, will “significantly enhance our capabilities, particularly in the areas of air defense and anti-submarine warfare,” he said.

Wierzbicki added that, even as the strike group will be a multinational effort, so too will be the logistics that support Hessen while accompanying the Truman CSG. The CSG will provide fuel and technical support for the German frigate, but the ship will have to request food, parts and other goods through its own naval logistics organization, as laid out in agreements between the two navies and in NATO requirements.

  • Bubblehead

    Interesting note is the Norwegian Frigate design is one of the top contenders for the FFGX. By proving its capabilities and interoperability with USN Carrier is certainly not going to hurt its chances. In several ways, the Norwegian FFG is superior to DDG AB’s.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Its in with a shout, but not sure it has much of a chance.

      None of the very suitable Euro-frigates stand much of a chance…. the Navy are desperate to keep the LCS debacle going.

      This frigate is a good fit for the ASW mission.
      Though it needs more vls cells.
      16 is probably insufficient.

      • D. Jones

        The Norwegian frigates cost the same as the LCS:

        “The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are a class of frigates that are the main surface combatant units of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The ships are named after famous Norwegian explorers, with the lead ship of the class bearing the name of Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian scientist, explorer and humanitarian. Five ships were ordered from Spanish shipbuilder Bazan (now Navantia). As of 2011, all five are in active service. The total projected cost for all five ships is 21 billion kr (about USD 2.5 billion).[1]”

        Guaranteed they would have made it from Buffalo to open water in 26 days.

    • DaSaint

      Disagree regarding its superiority to a Burke, but a good design nevertheless. Navantia designed and built, based on their F-100 platform, itself based on our Perrys. How ironic.

      • ShermansWar

        yup

    • El Kabong

      “In several ways, the Norwegian FFG is superior to DDG AB’s.”?

      How so?

      • Bubblehead

        The AESA Horizon radar is far superior to anything on a Burke. Some Burkes dont even have a spq9. The AESA radar does not require spg62 illumination radar. Meaning it can guide unlimited amount of missile at same time.

        • El Kabong

          Interesting.

          What is the range and target tracking capacity of it?

  • John Locke

    Seems like this is a veiled “Try before you buy”.
    If there had been such an option prior to the last Presidential election the U.S. wouldn’t have been stuck with a lemon.

    • Nate

      This isn’t the first time a euro frigate has been incorporated into a CSG. Your comment is without merit.

      • ShermansWar

        You are mistaken sir, and he is correct. There was no option to buy a euro frigate, the competitions under the previous administration restricted any and all entrants to a frigate competition to LCS based designs. That is a fact.

        • DaSaint

          I think you and Nate are talking about 2 completely different things. Just my observation.

          • ShermansWar

            It’s Friday, I’m off work, I’m bored and like to argue, shoot me.

            Truth be told Ill do just about anything to stir up a conversation about FFG(X) lacking any real news forthcoming until likely later this spring.

          • DaSaint

            LOL! I can relate to that. I appreciate the candor.

        • Nate

          DaSaint is spot on. I was only commenting that the navy has had interoperability with allied partners for ages and multiple European designs have been deployed with our carrier strike groups.
          I’m not disagreeing that the navy didn’t include foreign options with the previous LCS to FF request. The original LCS designs weren’t intended to be a frigate. The navy in its’ infinite wisdom chose to retire the frigates without replacement, not that they had much combat capability when they were mothballed.

          • USNVO

            The DDG51 Flt 2A destroyers were the replacement for the FFG-7s. It came down to either buy either three Flt 2A DDGs a year or getting maybe 4 non-Aegis FFGs . The AEGIS mafia, I mean Surface Navy Leadership, went with the DDG. The FFG-7s were cheaper to operate than the DD-963s so they were kept around solely to do maritime security missions. As you note, the FFxG-7s were basically OPVs by the end (really costly ones) and LCS merely took over that role.

          • Curtis Conway

            Hear Hear. Truth! Now we are going broke operating mostly DDG-51s with their large crews, and the training and maintenance has gone down the tubes over a decade, as those funds were raised to try to rebuild. Another contributing factor to ships running into each other.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          But evaluating these ships for possible purchase is not in the article. The ‘options’ for classes of ships has NOTHING to do with this discussion.

          • ShermansWar

            Yeah, i get that. I guess you missed the memo.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            No, I endeavor to PAY ATTENTION to what the actual conversation is all about. If only others did as well!

    • DaSaint

      Ouch!

      • Curtis Conway

        There is merit to the ‘Try before you buy’ analogy, but the shot at the president is just stupidity being expressed. We will ride ‘memos’ about ‘abuse of power’ by the ‘last administration’ all the way to the Midterms. They [that mindset] do not deserve to get a shot in the arm to balance things out. We almost went over the edge on the Left. Time to act like Christian Americans [Make America Great] Again. Get the Communist/Socialist mindsets out of there. Scripture (parable of the Talents) applies.

      • Curtis Conway

        DaSaint, I sent you a response yesterday about Icebreakers and FFG(X) spec/capabilities, and it was held. Did you ever see it?

        • DaSaint

          No Curtis, never did see it.

          • Curtis Conway

            giving it another try:

            If they build six (6) heavy Icebreakers right up front, with strengthened flight decks, moon pool, and large hangar/deck then we can get them all less expensively. Common design and equipage for lower lifetime logistical support costs, and even the heavies would not be all that big. Better have spaces for a MARDET particularly for Arctic Operations. The US Navy has already said they would all contain a command center that will necessitate a communications system that simply cannot be compromised. These new heavy Icebreakers will become the Command Ships of the Far North, and Far South. Better have the Flag Spaces for an embarked commander and his/her staff. The Wardroom/Flag Mess will take some planning.

          • DaSaint

            Who’s your odds-on-favorite to win this contract?

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m torn between the three primaries (Navantia, FREMM, and NSC derivative (whatever that looks like). Not a Type 26 Fan, but I do like its propulsion system.
            The LCS versions should be disqualified out of hand right up front (not Blue Water capable), although I would entertain the Meko concept built by either or both LCS yards. The new KDX-II AAW-centric right out of the box with VDS to go with its Tail would be nice. It is getting the HED propulsion system, and the new SPY radar tops it off nicely.

            Navantia with HED propulsion the new 3 array face, 3-RMA SPY-6(v) will really look good, particularly when the radar is upgraded in a decade to a full EASR. Lots of room for growth, and plenty of combat power right out of the box. Bolt on your ASuW and off we go.

            The FREMM is my favorite for Propulsion. Being able to stretch one’s fuel in the next conflict will be CRITICAL, and I see no one in the current CoC who even considers it a problem. Wait till a tankers goes away, then you will be thinking about it, but they will have to wake up to that when it becomes reality, and then it’s too late.

            An NSC with a new superstructure and the 3 array face, 3-RMA SPY-6(v) is attractive. Mostly because of the commonality with the NSCs. A propulsion upgrade replacing the LM2500 with the DDG-51 DRS electric motor and a controller that makes it function with the LM2500 torque profile, and replace the diesels with turbines, and we upgrade all of them. We get more speed on the hull, and can stretch our fuel when on station. There is enough room for growth, and the VDS and Tail will fit with no boats aft.

            Who ever gets this contract, the spec simply must address Ice-Operations, and the strengthening of the bow (and hull) that is required. Next is propulsion (HED). Then room for growth in the future.

            Being able to function in a ‘worse case scenario’ energy wise, yet still retain speed capability (when required) is the key, and hull wise (Ice Operations). These things simply must be in the base platform right up front. The combat system will take care of itself, and the EASR derived radar will provide the situational awareness (and fire control) above the water.

            So, I always pull for my old home (Pascagoula) the devil I know. Then the Navatia really looks good, but the FREMM propulsion is important. Probably didn’t help you at all.

          • Curtis Conway

            now the tough one:

            It is interesting to note that the United States Navy has NO (yes, you read it right, NONE) Surface Combatants that can even function in an ice water infested Environment. IMHO this should be right at the TOP of the FFG(X) requirements list. It’s just going to ride like hell in deep water, and heavy weather.

            US Navy and Allied contingencies for Arctic Operations have only been ‘thought about’ in recent years, forget ‘addressed’. All US Navy combat capability that can freely operate in the Arctic/Antarctic Regions must be reconstituted, and exercised with our Allies regularly.

            The FFG(X) design should deal with this capability in its design. Breaking thin ice up to one (1) meter thick is important. Operating in the Arctic Circle is a perishable skill. There are no US Navy Surface Combatants, or auxiliaries, that now possess this capability. That being the case, it is easy to understand why that experience is lacking. Some US Navy Surface Warfare Officers should be riding the two Cutters at Kodiak Station, AK. Perhaps a rotation of SWOs on 6-month basis, with a permanent staff to manage the program and provide continuity to the US Navy Arctic Familiarization Program permanently stationed. Arctic: Bridge Watch, CIC Officer, Engineering and Deck Qualifications are the goal. When the new FFG(X) arrives, perhaps one permanently stationed in the region. For that matter a B/L-9 IAMD DDG-51 would be a good idea, and make sure we cross pollinate the Coasties in the crew, particularly the Wardroom. Arctic Operations are similar to, but only vaguely resemble a normal deployment to the Pacific, Atlantic, or the Med. One does not wear Extremely Cold Weather gear there, and have to deal with ice buildup topside.

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, I tried. You got the Icebreaker part, but not the FFG(X) part. Tells me something.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      Where does it say or imply anything like that in the article? Foreign navies train with USN ships all the time, especially those from NATO nations. What ship to purchase or build has NOTHING to do with this, but you just want a means to throw in some cheap political mumbo jumbo that is totally irrelevant to what this is about. But have at it. ‘Trip your trigger’ as the adage goes!

      The USN is NOT going to build on a foreign design for any surface combatant. That is a fantasy. The Congress won’t let them, because of the desire to keep ALL the dollars involved here. The USN will always be reacquainted with what real frigates can do when they hold these exercises. I hope that they take good notes about that.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    The real surprise here is that the German Navy has a functioning ship!

    • USNVO

      A functioning ship is easy, at least to drive around the ocean. Actually keeping the combat systems functioning is much more difficult. And how many of her sisters are tied to the pier to keep this one working?

      • SvD

        There are just 3 of them, they replaced 3 destroyers. An option for a 4th one was not taken.
        The German Navy has 3 types of frigates in service and a 4th one will join soon.

        Not really economy of scale

        • USNVO

          Given the highly visible issues the German Air Force has had with the lack of spare parts and resulting readiness, or lack there of, with the Tornado and Typhoon, it will be interesting to see how the German Navy fares.

          • SvD

            These 3 ships get a new radar suite, not sure if they are properly maintained. They are of value in combat, so I think the rest of the fleet has the bigger problem.

            The Type 123 frigates don’t have a usable anti-ship missile, the installed Exocets overaged and there was no mention of a replacement.

            The Type 122 ASW frigates are to be replaced on a 1 for 2 bases with a glorified police cruiser, the Type 125, which has some LCS style weapon and mission set.

            The Navy has no more fighters, the Airforce consumed and scrapped them. While not continuing to train pilots for naval missions. There is no anti-ship missile left in the air force inventory. It would come down to a Tornado dropping JDAM’s on a ship.

            All subs are out of service for now… Both ‘big’ tankers are basically scrap metal. There is barely a helicopter flying!
            One Lynx had to perform an emergency landing on its first flight after long lasting repairs. Cannibalizing doesn’t work if the used part is 90% used up and is going to fail after a few flights.

            The fleet was butchered no matter what.
            We used Type 143A fast attack craft as offshore patrol vessels far from the mud pit they were designed for. A nightmare for the crew, due to very light manning and horrible seakeeping of the vessels.

            It was already a fact, that the fleet was too small and it still got butchered, so all these vessels are out commission. The federal police get new offshore patrol vessels, derivated from a naval OPV, but the Navy won’t get such a vessel.
            But there was a demand for vessels. So we saw mine counter vessels being deployed to fight human traffickers in the Mediterranean Sea. These vessels have civil navigation radar… there were even times with tenders picking up patrol missions.

            They now want to build more K130 corvettes, which are basically useless. Being useless and not interfering with other fleet elements was their design purpose. It was a handout to the industry from day one. And now, the fleet is suddenly too small, cause Russia and global security something… Seems odd to say this 3 years after Russia invaded Crimea.

            The arsenal in Kiel on the Eastsea was closed, no fucks given, which might have something to do with all subs being out of service at the moment. Who knows…

            Overall, all the changes made by the conservatives were horrible.
            There was a lot of privatization, cutting personnel at the bases, bloating some of the central bureaucratic bodies in the ministry while cutting other completely!
            Everything that was connected to supply and storage was annihilated.

            And following the financial crisis, the minister came up with the great plan to cancel all spare parts contracts. They never fully caught up on that, because the body in the ministry is gone and there is no one left who knows what he is doing. Some companies just died, so there is no way to get certain parts.

            Their attitude is just this: you can do everything for less and everyone can just work harder, no problem. And of course, everybody needs to be controlled, so on top, you get more bureaucracy. In reality, they are the ones who just don’t work at all, they are just present but don’t work, their ‘management’ is piss poor.
            You know, discount shopping was invented in Germany, and oddly the prices won’t drop every year, maybe because it is impossible?

          • publius_maximus_III

            Love da ALDI and LIDL.

  • ShermansWar

    Neither frigate is in the FFG(X) competition, and neither is expected to submit a bid, nor to be awarded one of the 5 or 6 awards for developmental funds to be awarded later this spring. By no metric, in any conceivable way is either ship superior to an AB. There are 6 ship designers considered competitive right now:

    Austal
    Lockheed
    Huntington Ingalls.
    Navantia/BIW/GD based on F105 cristobal colon.
    Fincantierri
    Meko

    The Norwegian frigate is a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, which is, however,based on the Navantia F100 class,which is the parent design to the F105 Cristobal colon also ( which the Navantia FFG(X) entrant is based on, not the F100), as well as the RAN Hobart class, and also competitors for both the RAN’s SEA 5000 frigate competition and Canada’s competition for a new frigate. Almost all the worlds top frigates these days are based on Navantias F 100 design, in some form or another, either as a descendant or a variant.

    The interesting part? The F100 was based on the Perry’s. If the US wants a TRUE descendant of the Perry, an evolved version, it would go with the Navantia design, which would be built in the US at Bath Iron Works, where, you guessed it, the Perry’s were built.

    Go full circle, come home, go Navantia for FFG(X)

    • Rob C.

      They’ll need dumb down or come up with way reduce the cost of the F100s. Their Aegis Air Frigates primarily, with their Mk41 32-tube launcher.

      It will be interesting see if politics will allow for the better design vs the politically aligned design to win.

      • ShermansWar

        Well, the whole electronics suite/ ASW suite/ ECM suites are basically spelled out, as are the radars, so far as that goes they’re pretty much going to be the same for every ship, no matter the entrant. 32 VLS as opposed to 48 on the Bazan’s, ( not 32 as you suggest, you’re confusing the total number of tubes with the total number of SM2’s, as the other 16 cells carry 64 ESSM in addition to the Standards), and a 57mm as opposed to a 5″ gun is definitely dumbed down, as is the electronics suite previously mentioned in comparison to AEGIS, so if the will is there, it’s doable.

  • Curtis Conway

    We are looking at the beginning of the 1,000 ship navy. I believe the Allies will step-up and perform well. Need more of this in the future, particularly in the Pacific, and Indian Ocean. We are going to have to do it in the Arctic relying almost soley on our Allies for Surface Combatant support. We should look at an Arctic Expeditionary Strike Group capability.

    • DaSaint

      Curtis, it will be interesting to see if some of the OPCs are ice-strengthened, or if there is a spin-off. Hopefully the Heavy icebreaker program results in some good designs. Honestly, I’d rather have 4 or 5 Heavy than 3 Heavy and 3 Medium. Keep the production line efficient.

      • Curtis Conway

        The OPCs will need to escort the new Icebreakers on occasion, but they do not have sufficient combat power to be effective. The FFG(X) should address this issue. That’s my input (specifics) that your not getting in my responses (held).

        • DaSaint

          I like the OPC, though I would have expected a couple extra knots out of her, and space for a CIWS, which there probably is on the hangar.

          Bet you the second batch has hybrid-electric drive added.

          • Curtis Conway

            One can always hope! Like the new KDX-II’s, I’m just not a CODLAG fan, rather a COGAG, or COGLAG. Replace the diesels with an electric motor, and put on some efficient Ships Service Gas Turbine Generators. That Aegis training runs deep!

            I wonder if the Coast Guard went 4160 VAC buss? That enables Directed Energy one day if the cables are big enough to carry the current. I suppose capacitors could do the job (store the energy) to feed DE..

          • DaSaint

            I’d be surprised if they did. But the icebreakers probably will.

          • Curtis Conway

            You’ld think with electric propulsion?

          • Curtis Conway

            DoD and the USCG are really missing out not making a requirement for Capstone Regenerative power generation technologies. Lightweight, efficient, small form-factor, and extremely reliable . . . everything the military is looking for. If the military was to truly go All Electric (even vehicles) this would be the solution for power, and in a larger format, this should be the power generation for HED on the OPC, IMHO.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Diesel-electrics (diesel powered generators driving electric motors in the trucks) replaced steam locomotives back in the 40’s and 50’s. The U.S. railroads never looked back. What’s taking so long with the USN?

            Just a thought. Does the high speed rotary inertia of a gas turbine affect steerage due to its gyroscopic effect?

          • Curtis Conway

            No, gyroscopic effect does not affect our multi-ton displacement vessels, like the motorcycle found out with the Wankel Engine.

            1. Turbine engine provide 100% power avaialble 90 seconds after startup. A diesel must warm up before it can exceed 80% power avaialble.
            2. Power density (amount of energy generation / unit cubed) is greater with gas turbines. This is why the AGT1500 was not replaced by the diesel in the M1A3, because they tank would have to add 1,200 lbs, or shed that much armor to stay under 70 tons which is pushing the air-mobile standard (C-5 can only move two at a time).
            3. Modern turbines are more efficient (using less fuel producing more power), require less maintenance, and last longer than ever before in HiStory. Might want to do some light reading concerning the use of CMCs (ceramic matrix composites), and Capstone Turbines using recuouperators. The M1 Abrams tanks uses a recouperator as well. The M1A Tank family of tanks serving US forces should be upgraded with the Honeywell LV100-5 turbine bringing more power, less fuel consumption, with fewer parts, electronic engine control and monioring, and more time-on-platform. ‘Wishpering Death’ still rules the battle field.
            I’m a 1/4 mile from the railroad tracks and can tell you long before it ever gets to me that its coming.
            4. Diesels have more moving parts that generate greater MTBF #s.
            I could go on, but . . . there is a reason the CG-47s/DDG-51s are CODLAG, and DDG-51 Flt IIAs are going to a HED application on one Main Reduction Gear . . . efficiency, which is why I am a huge COGLAG fan, and HED fan.

            Touched a nerve there . . .

          • publius_maximus_III

            Roger that, CC. It would seem you know a thing or two, or eighty, about marine propulsion systems.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    The USN might be wanting to observe what a real frigate can do, seeing how they haven’t had a fully equipped one for several years now.

  • Ed L

    Nice looking frigate.

  • Real sailor

    Comparing their frigate to our frigate (formally known as the LCS), give me a severe case of frigate envy

  • publius_maximus_III

    We need to get together with our Norwegian and German allies to see what kind of paint they use. Both are fine looking ships. Wish we had some frigates.

    Funny about those Deutschlanders having to provide their own food. Might they be afraid of their crewmen putting on some extra pounds from the high fat content Americans consume?