The Colombian Navy’s submarine ARC Tayrona took part in the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) 2022, a multinational anti-submarine warfare exercise with regional partner nations, off the East coast of the United States, the Colombian Navy said in late August. The 209-class submarine, built at the Kiel shipyard in Germany, sailed from Cartagena, Colombia, to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, to participate in the 12th version of the exercise.
For 72 days, the ARC Tayrona and its 43 crew members interacted with naval warfare units from Brazil, Italy, and the United States in an exercise designed to train crews, exchange experiences, and test anti-submarine warfare capabilities between nuclear-powered submarines and diesel-electric submarines. DESI is an initiative that began with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command in 2001. Colombia participates in the exercise since 2004, the Colombian Navy said.
On this occasion, Colombian sailors tested their operational capabilities through evasive maneuvers, silent running, and special operations. For the first time participants carried out an aeromedical evacuation exercise to strengthen the crews’ rescue skills.
“[Participating in this type of exercise] is of the utmost importance for Colombia, since through operation DESI interoperability between both navies [Colombia and the U.S.] is strengthened, contributing to mutual understanding [and] standardization of procedures and NATO protocols,” Colombian Navy Vice Admiral Juan Ricardo Rozo Obregón, commander of the Caribbean Naval Force, told Diálogo. “The training of the participating crews in doctrine and tactics of submarine and anti-submarine warfare is also strengthened.”
The Colombian unit trained with strategic units of participating navies, among them: Aircraft Carrier USS George H.W. Bush, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Oregon, the Destroyer ITS Caio Duilio of the Italian Navy, and the submarine BNS Tikuna of the Brazilian Navy. Crews also carried out Composite Unit Training Exercises (COMPTUEX), which mission was to locate, neutralize, and defeat hostile submarine forces that posed a threat, the Colombian Navy said.
The ARC Tayrona also trained in maneuvers to detect enemy assets with the participation of the P8 multi-mission maritime aircraft, and in search, tracking, and detection of submarine units.
“Operation DESI is carried out as part of the governments’ binational cooperation agreements that through their respective navies translates into international training operations of the same level as operations UNITAS, PANAMAX, and RIMPAC,” Vice Adm. Rozo said. “The [DESI] program has increased the level of training of submarine crew officers and noncommissioned officers, in the conduct of exercises that are done with the battle groups of the participating aircraft carriers, surface units, submarines, and aircraft with anti-submarine capabilities, as well as training that is done ashore at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay [Georgia] in simulators for damage control, fire control, and virtual reality of steering bridge and use of the periscope.”