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US Navy Creates New Atlantic Destroyer Task Group to Hunt Russian Submarines

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The US Navy has created a new task group on the East Coast to ensure it has ready destroyers that can deploy on short notice to counter the Russian submarine threat in the Atlantic Ocean.

Task Group Greyhound – which officially declared initial operational capability on Sept. 1 – is a force-generation model for destroyers that is embedded within the Navy’s Optimized Fleet Response Plan.

The plan is to take destroyers that have recently completed deployments and are awaiting maintenance availabilities and make them ready for training and operations in the Atlantic.

Greyhound is “designed to provide the fleet with predictable, continuously ready and fully certified warships,” Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, said in a Monday ceremony aboard USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) in Mayport, Fla.

“The ships will be ready to accomplish the full range of missions – including tracking Russian undersea activity in the Atlantic and maritime homeland defense for our nation.”

The task force shares a name with the 2020 surface warfare movie “Greyhound,” in which a collection of allied destroyers defend a North Atlantic convoy from German U-boats.

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USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) – which recently completed several years forward-deployed in Rota, Spain and is now based in Mayport – and Thomas Hudner are the first destroyers to become part of the task group. USS The Sullivans (DDG-68), which is currently deployed with the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group, will join the task group in January when it returns. USS Cole (DDG-67) and USS Gravely (DDG-107) will become part of Greyhound next year when Donald Cook begins its maintenance period.

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“We took the two most capable ready-to-go destroyers – so Thomas Hudner, just back from an outstanding deployment and Donald Cook just finished five to six years forward-deployed naval force out of Rota – so both extremely experienced in anti-submarine warfare. And then we kind of mapped out the schedule for the other one to try to get to a stable schedule where you would have ultimately four to make two all the time,” MacLane told reporters in a phone call after the ceremony.

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“So USS The Sullivans will be coming back from deployment later on this year and then she’ll be joining, followed by two of the ships that are currently in the Harry S. Truman strike group that will be going on deployment and then [when] they come back, they will then be ready to join. So the idea is we put in the ships that already have deployments under their belt and are most ready and most experienced.”

The creation of the new task group comes as the Navy has refocused assets and efforts on the Atlantic region due to Russia’s undersea capability. The service formally reestablished U.S. 2nd Fleet, which covers the North Atlantic and East Coast, in 2018 amid concerns over Russian submarines operating in the waters.

The Russian Navy has developed next-generation attack submarines armed with long-range land-attack missiles with ranges of 1,000 miles or more. Moscow is also developing a new class of submarines that will field a school-bus-sized torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead.

The ships will be based out of Mayport and Norfolk, Va., and the task group is set for full operational capability by June 2022, according to MacLane, who noted the ships will still have a post-deployment stand-down so sailors can see family after being out at sea.

Source: USNI NEWS

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