Military Capabilities

US sub fleet trains with Peru to improve anti-submarine warfare

18 November 2019

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter conducts a hoist exercise with Peruvian Navy submarine BAP Angamos (SS-31). Source: US Navy

Peruvian diesel-electric submarines participating in the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) operated by the US Navy (USN) are helping the USN's undersea force train for subsea and anti-surface warfare.

"By having an SSK [diesel-electric submarine] operate and train with us, it gives us the opportunity to practise on a platform that has a similar signature to our adversaries," said Captain Patrick Friedman, Submarine Squadron 11 (CSS-11). Via DESI, US submarine crews learn about the signature and capabilities of those platforms, which are similarly used by the North Korean navy and other potential US adversaries.

The DESI 2019 manoeuvres in the Pacific Ocean, which commenced on 19 October and will last two months, are being carried out by Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760), assigned to CSS-11, and the Peruvian submarine BAP Angamos (SS-31), a German-built Type 209/1200 submarine (SSK). "Not only are we able to strengthen our bond with our Peruvian partners, [but] DESI [also] allows for us to build on our own anti-surface warfare prowess," added Lieutenant Alexander Papadakos, the CSS-11 liaison officer for Angamos .

The goal of these manoeuvres, established in 2001 by US Fleet Forces Command, is to enhance the USN's "capability to operate with diesel-electric submarines by partnering with South American navies", the USN explained in a 5 November press release.

DESI is one of the few exercises in which the US operates its nuclear-powered force against SSKs. In recent years, other South American subs that have trained with US crews via DESI include Peru's Type 209/1100 BAP Arica (SS-36), Chile's Type 209/1400 Simpson (SS-21), and Colombia's Type 209/1200 ARC Tayrona (SO-29).

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