Watch The Ex-USS Ingraham Frigate Get Its Back Broken By A Torpedo

While cruise missiles and bombs are very capable, nothing wrecks a ship like a well-placed torpedo shot from a prowling submarine.

byJoseph Trevithick|
R/UGM-84 Harpoon photo


The U.S. Navy has released a video montage from a recent Sinking Exercise, or SINKEX, off the coast of Hawaii. The footage includes clips showing the Navy, together with the Marine Corps, pummelling the ex-USS Ingraham, the last Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate ever built, with a variety of weapons, before a Mk 48 torpedo fired from the Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine USS Chicago finally breaks the ship in two.

The SINKEX was one part of the unprecedently huge Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021, which began on Aug. 2 and ended on Aug. 16. LSE 2021 was centered, in large part, on helping the Navy and Marines explore and refine various new expeditionary and distributed concepts of operations. The SINKEX portion was focused on demonstrating various long-range maritime strike capabilities that both services have now or are in the process of fielding.

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The first half or so of the video, seen in full above, starts with a series of clips showing various weapon systems employed in the SINKEX. In order of appearance, they are Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes and Marine F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter jets armed with AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles, a UGM-84D submarine-launched Harpoon onboard USS Chicago, the ground-based Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) unmanned launch system for the stealthy Naval Strike Missile (NSM) cruise missile, and Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets armed with AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) precision-guided glide bombs. 

As already noted, USS Chicago, which also happens to be the Navy's oldest Los Angeles class submarine presently in service, after the decommissioning of USS Olympia in February, also fired a Mk 48 torpedo during the SINKEX. Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighters dropped Paveway-series laser-guided bombs, as well. The F-35Cs flew from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which is the first to carry those stealthy jets on an operational cruise.

The second portion of the video shows various weapons being fired at the ex-USS Ingraham, which was decommissioned in 2015 and was subsequently set aside to be used as a target, and then hitting the ship. The strike footage includes a clip where a smaller weapon, possibly a JSOW or Paveway, appears to strike the center of the ship, followed by a missile, which would be either a Harpoon or an NSM, hitting the stern. 

A screengrab from the US Navy's video montage from the recent SINKEX conducted as part of Large Scale Exercise 2021. Smoke is seen rising from the center of the ship where a weapon has impacted. The white object seen to the left of the stern is a missile about to hit the ship., USN capture

This is followed by a view of the Mk 48 torpedo striking the side of the former Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, causing the center of the ship's hull to buckle and likely break. Another view of the coup de grace torpedo impact, seen below, had already emerged online. The Navy's new video ends with the sunken ship's bow seen still poking straight up above the waves.

Overall, it's an impressive display of maritime firepower and demonstrated various maritime strike capabilities that the Navy and Marine Corps see as essential components of their new concepts of operations. In the end, though, it also highlighted how torpedoes, such as the Mk 48, are still king when it comes to sinking warships.

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