US Navy destroyer to visit South Africa this week


The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Carney will be visiting Cape Town later this week ahead of its participation in Exercise Obangame Express off Africa’s West coast.

The destroyer will arrive in Cape Town on Sunday 15 March and depart on Tuesday 17 March.

“The visit will serve to continue US Naval Forces Africa’s effort to build global maritime partnerships with African nations in order to improve maritime safety and security in the region,” US Embassy Spokesperson Robert Mearkle told defenceWeb.

A number of vessels from different nations are heading to West Africa for Exercise Obangame Express 2020. This involves military personnel from Africa, Europe and the Americas. Its aim is to equip participants with maritime security skills to employ in the Guinea Gulf against piracy, drug smuggling and arms trafficking, hijacking, illegal fishing and other illicit activities within the region.

Obangame Express kicks off on 20 March and runs until 28 March along the West Coast of Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea. The exercise, celebrating its tenth anniversary, will feature 33 participating nations and approximately 3 000 personnel, 102 surface vessels and 12 aircraft which will train together on counter-piracy tactics, energy security, counter-illegal fishing and counter illicit trafficking, Mearkle said. The exercise will also feature training on search and rescue and advanced medical operations.

The USS Carney anchored off Port Victoria, Seychelles, on 5 March during a two-day visit. Before the Seychelles port visit, Carney was operating in the US 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), supporting maritime security operations and ensuring freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce while assigned to the USS Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

“We are very excited to be back in the 6th fleet AOR,” said Commander Christopher Carroll, commanding officer aboard the Carney. “The entire crew performed exemplary while in 5th fleet and are ready to continue our efforts within 6th fleet to work with our African partners to ensure a more secure and prosperous maritime environment, enjoy the rich culture and hospitality, and to contribute to a stronger Africa.”

Following her time in 5th Fleet, the USS Carney continues her seventh forward deployed naval force patrol in support of US national security interests in the US 6th Fleet area of operations.

The US 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa, the US Navy said.

The USS Carney (DDG64) was commissioned into service in 1996 as the 14th Arleigh Burke class ship. She is currently based at Rota in Spain and is named for Admiral Robert Carney, Chief of Naval Operations during President Eisenhower’s administration.

The vessel displaces approximately 8 900 tons at full load and is 154 metres long with a complement of 210 enlisted personnel, 38 chief petty officers and 33 officers. Top speed is in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h) and range 8 100 km at 20 knots/37 km/h.

The vessel is armed with RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles, Mk 141 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Mark 45 torpedoes, 25 mm chain guns, 12.7 mm machineguns, 20 mm Phalanx Close in Weapons Systems and Mk 32 torpedoes. Two Sikorsky MH-60R naval helicopters can be embarked.