USS Bataan LHD 5 Amphibious Ready Group completed first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training

The USS Bataan (LHD 5) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) of U.S. navy completed its first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise August 5, 2019. The USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy.

USS Bataan LHD 5 Amphibious Ready Group completed first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training 925 001 An amphibious assault vehicle enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). (Picture source U.S. DoD)

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 delivers advanced tactical training to increase surface force lethality and tactical proficiency by providing warfare commander and unit-level training beyond the basic phase. As a result, ARGs and other warfare commander teams are more ready to receive operational tasking or deploy following a SWATT.

SWATT exercises are conducted in two phases. The first phase of the Bataan ARG SWATT — like similar SWATTs — was an in-port academic session where Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) provided training to shipboard teams that directly led into the development of warfighting capacity during the second phase of training. 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.

SMWDC led the SWATT exercise with 18 WTIs, senior mentors, and subject matter experts embarked aboard each ship. These onboard trainers provided over-the-shoulder mentoring for watchstanders and commanding officer and warfare commander level guidance from senior mentors. Subject matter experts and onboard technical community personnel delivered rapid replay capability from scheduled training exercises that provided immediate feedback for watchstanders to help them rapidly learn from challenges they experienced during training. The SWATT culminated in a Live Fire With a Purpose (LFWAP) exercise with rolling airframe missiles.

Since 2016, there have been 11 SWATT exercises completed by carrier strike group cruiser-destroyer units and ARGs. SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Forces, and is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on IAMD, ASW/SUW, AMW, and Mine Warfare.

The Wasp class is a class of Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy. Based on the Tarawa class, with modifications to operate more advanced aircraft and landing craft, the Wasp class is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a United States Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters as well as providing air support via AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft or F-35B Lightning II stealth strike-fighters.