Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) completed her first weapons handling exercise involving the transfer of an inert training shape to a U.S. Navy submarine at HMAS Stirling Naval Base in Australia in late April. The exercise included the transfer of a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) inert training shape. Moored alongside Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761), Sailors and civil service mariners with Military Sealift Command (MSC) worked together to complete the exercise safely and efficiently.

US Navy photo.

“This exercise was instrumental to advancing the expeditionary combat capabilities that our submarine tenders and submarines bring to the Pacific Theater,” said Capt. Albert Alarcon, Frank Cable’s commanding officer. “Every training opportunity helps assure our readiness for any contingency.”

Sailors first transferred the capsule launch system platform and all associated missile handling gear to Springfield via crane, where it was attached and assembled on the submarine before transferring the inert shape.

“Both Springfield and Frank Cable weapons handling teams executed exceptionally well in a new environment,” said Lt. Brandon Shellenberger, Frank Cable’s weapons officer. “This operation has strengthened partnerships with allied forces and further validates a full range of submarine tender rearm capabilities. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work side-by-side a group of excellent members in the Royal Australian Navy and Joint Explosive Ordnance Support, Western Australia. Frank Cable’s weapons department continues to prove we are ready to execute any task, anywhere.”

For some, it was their first weapons handling evolution working with two different platforms and the crews worked seamlessly with each other. Royal Australian Navy sailors also observed the evolution, learning about the process from the subject matter experts onboard both Frank Cable and Springfield.

“Working with Frank Cable’s crew of Navy Sailors and MSC civil service mariners in exercises like today’s always serves as a fantastic opportunity to hone both crews’ valuable expeditionary logistics skills,” said Cmdr. Andy Domina, Springfield’s commanding officer. “Incorporating our friends from the Royal Australian Navy in this evolution was an added bonus, as this level of engagement allows us the opportunity to strengthen our interoperability with allies in the region and learn from one another.”

This is the second such exercise Frank Cable has conducted since turning over lead maintenance activity responsibilities with her sister ship, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), in September 2021. She conducted a similar exercise with Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) while pier-side in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, in October 2021. Frank Cable, forward-deployed to the island of Guam, rearms, repairs, and re-provisions submarines and surface vessels in the Indo-Pacific region. Frank Cable is on patrol conducting expeditionary maintenance and logistics in support of national security in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

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