Cutlass Express: USS Simpson Plays the Bad Guy

US Navy’s USS Simpson (FFG 56), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, engaged in counter-piracy operations, has taken the role of one of “the bad guys” during Exercise Cutlass Express 2015.

Exercise Cutlass Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness and information sharing practices to increase capabilities of East African and Indian Ocean nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.

To accomplish this, East African an Indian Ocean nations and the U.S. engaged in exercises on and in the waters around the island of Mauritius, practicing maritime interdiction operations and boarding vessels from the Seychelles, Mauritius and Simpson.

VBSS teams from different nations boarded Simpson to face situations tailored to their home nation’s most pressing issues as evaluators monitor their performance.

During the exercise, Simpson ran training scenarios with teams from Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Comoros and Seychelles. After every run through, exercise evaluators critique the teams’ performance.

The practice helped the boarding team, but by playing pirates, it gave the Simpson’s team a different perspective on fighting piracy and illicit activity by allowing them to think like the men they go after.

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Image: US Navy