USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) and Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin (SSG 78) operate together in waters off Rottnest Island, Western Australia, March 4. (Royal Australian Navy photo)

STIRLING, Australia - The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) partnered with the Royal Australian Navy in March to strengthen its warfare capabilities through an annual joint exercise, Lungfish 2015.

Lungfish 2015 is a tactical development exercise between the two navies that trains and teaches tracking methods of both nuclear and diesel submarines.

In a direct response to the U.S. Pacific Fleet's priority to enhance anti-submarine warfare abilities, the submarine's crew participated in two anti-submarine missions and joint submarine command courses while deployed to Perth, Australia. The joint exercises allowed for the U.S. Navy to learn and gain knowledge from the Australian diesel submarine HMAS Rankin.

"I'm excited for our crew's opportunity to participate in Lungfish," said Lt. j.g. Patric Trabert, Albuquerque's damage control assistant. "This provides a unique experience for the submarine crew to employ and experiment with many different real world tactics."

In addition to the skills developed, the weeklong exercise strengthened the ties between the United States and Royal Australian navies.

"There is no substitute for this experience," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Brown, Albuquerque's executive officer. "You can simulate this in a trainer, but it is quite different when you have a top-of-the-line diesel submarine being expertly operated by its crew. You really get a chance to see how you perform under pressure."

Albuquerque is the nineteenth ship in its class and is homeported in San Diego, California. The ship is capable of supporting a variety of missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, intelligence collection and mine warfare.

USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) prepares for a personnel transfer during exercise Lungfish. (Royal Australian Navy photo)