Earlier I explored “What Does It take to Sink a Ship?” as a measure of what it takes to be absolutely sure you can stop one. Then the Japanese Tsunami gave us fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru, a small vessel USCGC Anacapa attempted to sink with their 25mm gun. Anacapa ultimately resorted to coming along side and using a fire hose to fill the vessel with water, but it took over five hours.
Now the Navy provides us with information about another Sink-Ex. The former USS Rentz (FFG-46), a 4,200 ton, 453 foot long frigate, was the target. In spite of being hit by 22 missiles, she took five hours to sink. The last hit or hits were by Hellfire, and may not have been necessary, but not all the missiles were that small. The caption below appears to indicate at least two Harpoons were used.
Photo: US Navy. Guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), foreground, and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) fire Harpoons missiles as part of a sink exercise (SINKEX) during Valiant Shield 2016.
Reports also indicate that at least one JSOW C-1, an over 1000 pound guided gliding munition with both Infra-Red and Link-16 guidance, was used.
The caption on the photo below seems to indicate multiple AGM-65F were used. These are infra-red homing, Air to Surface Missiles, weighing over 600 pounds with a 300 pound warhead.
U.S. Navy sailors with Patrol Squadron 46 load a P-3 Orion aircraft with AGM-65F MAVERICKs, prior to a sinking exercise (SINKEX) Sept. 13, 2016, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, during Valiant Shield 2016.
When the video at the head of this post begins, it appears that the ship has already taken at least three major hits. I suspect these were two Harpoons and possibly the JSOW C-1. I suspect the four hits seen in the video were Mavericks launched from the P-8 that made the video.
The video below shows a Hellfire hitting what appears to be an already sinking hulk. It appears to me, the effects are clearly less than those seen in the video at the top of the post.
I would love to have a clearer idea of the sequence and effects of the individual hits, but one thing is clear. It took a lot of ordnance to put even this relatively small ship down. The Coast Guard’s 25 mm and 57 mm guns, with their five ounce and six pound projectiles, will not cut it.