CSS-11 staff welcomed their South American partners to the dock followed by lunch, kicking off what the two hope will be the start of a fruitful partnership.
“Every year, Submarine Squadron 11 looks forward to DESI and we are excited this year to work with our Peruvian counterparts,” said Capt. Ken Douglas, commodore, CSS-11. “United States alliances and partnerships are an enduring strength and training with high-end diesel submarines, like Pisagua, gives us the opportunity to maintain our necessary competitive edge in the submarine realm. These commitments help to strengthen the bonds between our nations.
DESI, established in 2001 by the US Fleet Forces Command, is an international program led by the Commander of Submarine Force Atlantic, which aims to improve the Navy’s ability to operate with diesel-electric submarines by working with navies South Americans.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to hone your combat skills with a close ally, you can’t help but get excited,” said Lt. Cecilia Cajandig, the CSS-11 liaison officer for Pisagua. “Our hope is that they learn as much from us as we learn from them.”
During the two-month bilateral training, Pisagua will participate in a multitude of different exercises, to include surface, air and subsurface Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), a carrier strike group from the composite unit training exercise and a maritime reconnaissance patrol aircraft exercise.
Sailors aboard Pisagua will also participate in shore training at Naval Base Point Loma. The San Diego Submarine Training Center will host Peruvian sailors for classroom and hands-on training. This includes fighting simulated fires in the firefighting trainer and learning skills to fight floods in the damage control team trainer.
“We are very confident that we will emerge from this exercise better equipped to accomplish our mission, due to the skills and tools we will have acquired through the experience,” Cajandig said. “I believe we both share the common goal of wanting to be the best, and to be the best you have to train like you fight.”
Peru continues to provide invaluable support to this first foreign underwater exercise program. Over the past 19 years, Peruvian submarines have participated in a number of fleet exercises and tactical development events with the US Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The Peruvian Navy operates a total fleet of six SSKs. Notably, Peru is the largest submarine force in South America and the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
CSS-11 is based at Naval Station Point Loma and consists of four Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines, ARCO Floating Drydock (ARDM 5), and Undersea Rescue Command (URC). The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, materiel and personnel readiness support for each of these units.