US Cyclone-class patrol ships test Griffin missiles in Middle East

US Navy Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships from the US 5th Fleet’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 55 honed artillery skills during a Griffin Missile System (GMS) fleet firing exercise which took place between September 16 and 18 in the Middle East.

A MK-60 Griffin surface-to-surface missile is launched from coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12). Photo: US Navy

Coastal patrol ships USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Monsoon (PC 4), USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), USS Hurricane (PC 3), and USS Sirocco (PC 6) participated in missile and naval gun exercises against high-speed maneuvering targets with the aim of enhancing their ability to defend minesweepers and other coastal patrol ships from potential threats.

“This fleet firing event was a great opportunity for CTF 55 patrol craft to maintain proficiency and increase lethality against small boats,” said Capt. Adan Cruz, commander destroyer squadron (COMDESRON) 50/ CTF 55 commodore. “The hard work, attention to detail and effective coordination between civilian agencies and military units paid great dividends and has been a tremendous success thus far.”

The exercise also provided the sailors involved an opportunity to train and enhance their operational proficiency.

“We are conducting this event to give patrol craft an opportunity to gain valuable experience on their weapon systems,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jimmy Harmon, CTF 55 GMS fleet test director. “Griffin missiles extend their range and provide another tool in their arsenal.”

The GMS extends the range of the ship’s self-defense capabilities and enhances the performance of core mission sets like maritime security operations, escort duties and defense of commercial shipping.

The surface-to-surface missile exercise is being conducted as part of the larger US 5th Fleet Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise. U.S. 5th Fleet assets are concurrently participating in Bright Star 18, Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal (TACR) 18 and Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 18-3.