Bataan amphibious group completes first SWATT

The US Navy amphibious ready group (ARG) assembled around amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) has completed its first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise.

San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) fires a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) during SWATT. Photo: US Navy

For the Bataan ARG, SWATT provided an important transition from single ship operations to multi-ship, aircraft, and landing craft operations in scenarios that spanned multiple warfare areas.

SWATTs are a relatively new construct in the surface fleet that deliver advanced tactical training to increase surface force lethality and tactical proficiency by providing warfare commander and unit level training beyond the basic phase.

“SWATTs prepare individuals, watch teams, ships and staffs to be more capable, ready and lethal to ‘Own the Fight,’” said Capt. Lance Lesher, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 8. “It’s crucial that ships’ crews are prepared to work together, communicate and face all varieties of challenges at sea. That need is amplified when you have multiple ships conducting coordinated operations as a group.”

SWATT exercises are conducted in two phases. The first phase of the Bataan ARG SWATT — like similar SWATTs — was an in-port academic session. After the in-port phase, underway training commenced when all the ships, aircraft and landing craft that make up the Bataan ARG — including USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS New York (LPD 21), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), and embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 (HSC 28) and Naval Beach Group 2 assets — completed training events to sharpen their warfighting skills.

These events included conducting integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), anti-submarine / surface warfare (ASW/SUW), amphibious warfare (AMW), information warfare (IW), mine warfare (MIW), ship maneuvering, and live-fire events designed to tactically prepare surface forces for maritime warfare missions.

Since 2016, there have been 11 SWATT exercises completed by carrier strike group cruiser-destroyer units and ARGs.