US Navy Training Standards Are Improving Following McCain and Fitzgerald Collisions

WASHINGTON, the USA ( —The training standards of the U.S. Navy are being improved after the tragic collisions involving the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald and the subsequent analyses and reviews that arose the question whether the U.S. Navy knows how to drive its ships, learned

The fatal accidents that happened about two months apart – on 17th June 2017 and on 21st August 2017 – took the lives of seventeen sailors. In June 2017, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel and later in August, the destroyer USS John S. McCain impacted with a 600-foot-long tanker.

The reviews established shortfalls in manning, deployment, and training schedules for forward-deployed vessels of the U.S. Navy.

Read more: The Littoral Combat Ship 11 of the US Navy Commissioned

However, the reviews did not completely explained how the watch teams on the bridge and the radar monitors in the combat information centre aboard two of the world’s most advanced warships didn’t manage to coordinate so that to avoid the collisions.

According to the head of Naval Surface Force Pacific and the service’s top surface warfare officer, Vice Adm. Richard Brown, the solution of that question – simulators – has been around the U.S. Navy, but probably they were not enough used by the surface fleet.

As part of a 2018 reprogramming request, the U.S. Navy reallocated $24 million for building what will be a new “Maritime Skills Training Program,” in which simulators will be widely used for bringing together officer and enlisted watchstanders to train on equipment and work as a unit.

Brown said, “We’ve secured the funding for the maritime skills training centres, which is going to do two things: individual officer training through the [officer of the deck training]. So that, in conjunction with building out the navigation, seamanship and ship-handling trainers in the fleet concentration areas, will give us integrated bridge and CIC [combat information centre] training at the high end. That’s my No. 1 priority.”

Read more: The US Navy Received Littoral Combat Ships 11 (Sioux City) and 13 (Wichita)

Cmdr. Patrick Evans, Brown’s spokesman, further explained in an email, “The NSST [Navigation, Seamanship, and Shiphandling Trainers] upgrades are being expedited to provide improved hazardous situation training capability and integrated Bridge/CIC radar and navigation training. Fleet Concentration Areas will receive the initial NSST modification upgrades commencing in December 2018 with full capability fielding to all sites through 2021.”

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Source: Defense News