Chilean submarine CS Simpson arrives in San Diego for DESI drills

Chilean Navy’s diesel-electric submarine CS Simpson (SS 21) arrived at Naval Base Point Loma on June 26 as part of the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) program.

US Navy photo of CS Simpson (SS-21) arriving at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., in November 2012

Hosted by Commander, Submarine Squadron 11 (CSS-11), the submarine and its crew will spend the next three months in San Diego, conducting underway operations with US Navy submarines, ships and aircraft.

DESI was established by US Fleet Forces Command in 2001 with the aim of enhancing the US Navy’s capability to operate with diesel-electric submarines by partnering with South American navies.

“Each year, Submarine Squadron 11 has the privilege of hosting a South American submarine in our local waters,” said Lt. Alexander Papadakos, the CSS-11 liaison officer for Simpson. “During these visits, we are able to simulate a variety of wartime scenarios against diesel submarines which adds an additional degree of difficulty and reality to fleet ASW, as diesel submarines have proven to be quiet and elusive.”

Simpson will conduct surface, air, and sub-surface anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises. These operations will provide the US Navy and the Chilean crew valuable training and exercise opportunities to improve skills, capabilities and experience in ASW warfare.

Sailors on board Simpson will also engage in training ashore on Naval Base Point Loma. The Submarine Learning Center (SLC) Detachment San Diego will host the Chilean sailors for classroom and practical training, including fighting simulated fires at the Fire Fighting Trainer and learning skills to combat flooding in the Damage Control Team Trainer.

“Maintaining our own ASW prowess is not the only benefit of DESI,” said Papadakos. “It allows us to strengthen our bonds with our South American partners.”

Capt. Chris Cavanaugh, commander, Submarine Squadron 11, personally welcomed the commanding officer and crew of CS Simpson with members of his staff and Sailors from the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756).

The highlight of the DESI deployment is CHILEMAR VIII, a submarine search and rescue exercise that will take place in August. Chile remains the only South American submarine-operating country to conduct frequent live submarine rescue exercises with US Navy rescue assets at Undersea Rescue Command.