US Navy creates new Atlantic destroyer task group to hunt Russian submarines

The U.S. 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.

US Navy creates new Atlantic destroyer task group to hunt Russian submarines
Photo: US Navy

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.

Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, said: 

“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.

  • 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.

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.

Photo: Russian Navy

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 McLane, who noted the ships will still have a post-deployment stand-down so sailors can see family after being out at sea.

McLane said:

“The strategic threat to the homeland has entered a new era and our key competitors have deployed and continue to advance a range of capabilities to hold the homeland at risk.” 

McLane said work under Greyhound will include in-port training, live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training and time at sea.

For example, the Navy could take advantage of a submarine moving in and out of its homeport by pairing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft with helicopter detachments on destroyers for drills, Davies said.

Related: Russian jets and ships target British warship

Source: USNI