US Navy destroys its last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate in rare sinking exercise

The US Navy has concluded its annual training exercise off Hawaii with the sinking of its last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, the former USS Ingraham.

The exercise, which took place on 15 August 2021, was joined by units from the Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG), Submarine Forces Pacific, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force/3rd Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary/3rd Marine Division, and U.S. Army Multi-Domain Task Force.

Photo by the US Navy

The sinking of the ship involved the navy-marine expeditionary ship interdiction system. During the drill, two naval strike missiles were launched, one by C-130 and the second by LCAC hovercraft. 

US Navy
Photo by the US Navy

The former USS Ingraham was the last vessel in the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates, which have been used in previous sinking exercises.

USS Ingraham was commissioned on 5 August 1989, and decommissioned on 30 January 2015.

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Former Navy vessels used in sinking exercises, referred to as hulks, are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the navy holds pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

Each exercise is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land and surveys are conducted to safeguard against harm to people or marine mammals during the event.

Prior to being transported for participation in a sinking exercise, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process for environmental safety and is inspected to ensure the ship meets EPA requirements.

“Lethal combat power was effectively applied to a variety of maritime threats over the last two weeks in a simulated environment as part of the Navy’s Large-Scale Exercise and expertly demonstrated Sunday with live ordnance,” said U.S. 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Steve Koehler.