ASAN, Guam (Sept. 19, 2020) – Valiant Shield 2020 is slated to include one sinking exercise (SINKEX) with the environmentally clean decommissioned hulk of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, ex-USS Curts (FFG 38).
A SINKEX generally involves air, surface, and undersea military units conducting live-fire training at sea against a physical target.
SINKEXs give participants an opportunity to gain proficiency and confidence in their weapons and systems through realistic training that cannot be duplicated in simulators.
Each SINKEX is conducted in strict compliance with applicable U.S. environmental laws, regulations, and permit requirements to minimize potential harm to the environment. In addition, each SINKEX vessel undergoes a rigorous cleaning process, in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, that includes removal of all liquid polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from transformers, large capacitors, and small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, and all trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon containing materials, and readily detachable solid PCB items.
Petroleum is cleaned from the vessel’s tanks, pipes and reservoirs. The Navy also complies with documentation requirements to track components containing liquid PCBs and solid shipboard materials potentially containing PCBs.
SINKEXs are conducted in water at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) deep and at least 50 nautical miles from land, only after the area has been surveyed for the presence of people, marine vessels, aircraft, and marine species. SINKEXs are fully compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and a general permit under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act.
When conducted within waters surrounding Guam and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, SINKEXs are positioned outside the footprint of the Mariana Trench National Monument.
This training event will enhance the Joint Force’s combat readiness and lethal capability, enabling forces to respond to operational missions throughout the region to ensure a stable, free, and open Indo-Pacific.