The UK and US militaries have participated in Atlantic Thunder 2022, a a multi-domain live-fire immersion exercise (SINKEX).
Conducted aboard the US Navy’s decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Boone, the exercise involved live testing of weapons against a realistic target at sea.
He also appreciated the strength and precision of both forces.
During the exercise, the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon seaplane fired 660 kg of high-explosive explosives, while the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 23 ship HMS Westminster fired two Harpoon anti-ship missiles at the former USS Boone.
The RN’s Wildcat helicopter then fired Martlet air-to-surface missiles at Boone’s hull.
This was the first time the Martlet had been fired at a realistic target, as previously the missile had only been used against purpose-built targets.
Simultaneously, the Wildcat crew used an on-board laser guidance pod to direct Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons to fire Paveway IV precision-guided munitions.
The exercise was the first time a Wildcat had been used to target a Paveway IV, as well as the first instance of a Typhoon jettisoning munitions to strike a naval target.
US Air Force F-15E Eagles also directed munitions for a joint air-to-ground direct attack on Boone.
As part of this exercise, the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) also fired a Standard Missile (SM)-6 to engage its first anti-ship target in the US European Command area of responsibility.
In addition, US Marines aboard DDG 51 deployed a V-BAT 128 Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to provide a battle damage assessment.
The launch was V-BAT 128’s first from an Arleigh Burke-class ship.
HMS Westminster Commanding Officer Ed Moss-Ward said: “Atlantic Thunder has shown that the UK and US navies and air forces can work together to provide a complete chain of destruction against maritime targets at long range.”