The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, just received a prestigious anti-submarine warfare award for its proficiency on the field.
Forward-deployed in Japan and part of the 7th Fleet, the USS Barry won the 2020 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Bloodhound Award for the Pacific Fleet. Each year, two Bloodhound Awards are given: one to an Atlantic Fleet ship and one to a Pacific Fleet ship, recognizing the vessel’s expertise, equipment readiness, and technical prowess.
The 7th Fleet is responsible for the Indo-Pacific area of operations and is one of the largest and more important commands in the Navy. It operates between 50 and 70 vessels and frequently interacts with allied and partner nations in the region. China, and its massive naval force, is the main competitor in the region.
“Barry’s Sailors are truly the finest operators I’ve had the privilege of working with,” Navy Lieutenant Paris Bess, USS Barry’s anti-submarine warfare officer, said in a press release. “
2020 provided an unprecedented opportunity for Barry to sharpen our ASW skills. The team worked incredibly hard and overcame a diverse set of challenges, leading to breakthroughs in how our Navy hunts for submarines.”
USS Milius (DDG 69), another forward-deployed ship out of Yokosuka, Japan, won the prestigious award in 2019.
Anti-submarine warfare is a category of maritime warfare that is conducted with the intention of denying an enemy the effective use of his submarine forces by either forcing them to hide or sinking them. Anti-submarine warfare can be broken into four phases: detection, classification, identification, and tracking.
Detection: Use all available methods, including surface vessels, fixed-winged and rotary-winged aircraft, and friendly submarines, to search for and locate an enemy submarine. Radar, visual, and passive or active sonar.
Classification: During this phase, friendly forces investigate possible submarine contacts with various sensors and methods in an attempt to determine that the movement patterns belong to a submarine.
Identification: In this crucial phase friendly forces analyze the movements of the submarine in order to determine if it’s friendly or not. In an active operational environment, communication with friendly submarines is difficult as they also attempt to hide their presence from the enemy.
Tracking: Having determined the nationality of the submarine, friendly forces utilize their sensors to maintain contact with the enemy submarine and engage it if necessary.
At its most effective, anti-submarine warfare uses surface vessels, aircraft, and friendly submarines.
“Our team trains well and executes even better. I am extremely proud of our ASW team,” Commander Chris Gahl, the commanding officer of USS Barry. “Our team’s ability to immediately cooperate with our partners and allies strengthens our united force, which pays dividends during real-world operations as we work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific. We will fly the Bloodhound pennant with pride.”
The First and Second World Wars, when Imperial and Nazi Germany almost starved Great Britain, have shown the danger posed by submarines and the importance of a potent anti-submarine warfare capability for any navy that is taking itself seriously. That threat is that more pronounced today with the prevalence of submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons.