Peru’s Submarine Force has been a strategic ally of the United States, more specifically during the Diesel Submarine Exercises (SUBDIEX), which are part of the Diesel Electric Submarine Initiative, a U.S. Navy partnership with South American countries that supports their operations and fleet of diesel-electric submarines with readiness events off the U.S. East and West coasts.
“This program provides bilateral benefits for both navies,” Peruvian Navy (MGP) Commander Roberto González Cuadros, commander of the diesel-electric submarine BAP Pisagua, told Diálogo on November 12. “In the SUBDIEX 2022 exercise, the BAP Pisagua was deployed to certify the various U.S. Navy task forces and units in submarine warfare of this type, as well as to carry out various underwater search and rescue procedures.”
“The BAP Pisagua successfully completed its participation in the SUBDIEX 2022 Operational Deployment on November 4,” the MGP said on its website. The modernization of Peruvian submarines, especially the BAP Pisagua, has allowed Peru to participate in 18 of the 20 iterations of SUBDIEX, making it the country with the highest participation in these exercises, an indication that it is one of the most powerful submarine forces in South America, the MGP added.
In this last edition, basic, intermediate, and advanced level exercises were carried out in the areas of submarine and anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol and air reconnaissance with fixed and rotary wing units, submarine detection and monitoring, as well as submarine search and rescue exercises, which raised the level of training and readiness of participating units.
The BAP Pisagua was able to interact with state-of-the-art systems and equipment such as variable depth sonar systems, sonobuoys, and synthetic aperture radar, among others.
The U.S. Navy participated with naval air squadrons, surface units such as the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Arleigh Burke class destroyers, Ticonderoga class cruisers, Los Angeles class nuclear submarines from Submarine Squadron 11, and Undersea Rescue Command units.
U.S. interest and support
During these highly valued combined diesel-electric submarine exercises the U.S. Navy can review basic operational and anti-submarine warfare doctrines and tactics. Conducting exercises that address the threat of conventional diesel-electric submarines is a great opportunity to maintain the high level of readiness that military activity demands.
“These exercises allow for experience and information exchange, the development of new tactics and doctrines and operational procedures, which are not only obtained during periods at sea, but also in port,” Cmdr. González Cuadros said. “All this contributes greatly to increase the training and skill levels of participating crews to fulfill the roles and tasks that both navies are entrusted with in their respective fields of action.”
In welcoming BAP Pisagua to SUBDIEX 2022, U.S. Navy Captain Kenneth Douglas, commander of Submarine Squadron 11, said, “Training with high-end diesel submarines, such as BAP Pisagua, gives us the opportunity to maintain our necessary competitive edge in the submarine domain. These engagements help strengthen the ties between our nations.”
The eventual participation starting in 2024 of a 209 submarine, such as the BAP Pisagua, in U.S. Navy-hosted Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the largest naval exercise in the world, is being evaluated. In 2022 Peru participated for the 13th time out of the 28 editions of RIMPAC with the BAP Guise, a corvette the MGP acquired in January.
“It’s a constant task to maintain an optimal level of readiness, which entails carrying out progressive and constant preparation activities that cover both training and preparation of the crew, the execution of logistics and administrative processes, as well as maintenance and monitoring of the various repair programs of the equipment on board,” Cmdr. González Cuadros concluded.