USS Coronado (LCS 4) transits the South China Sea, Feb. 12. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Amy M. Ressler)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Sailors aboard littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) are training and conducting operations at sea following the ship’s departure from Singapore, Feb. 10.

After a short, but productive in-port period conducting engineering maintenance, the Coronado crew is executing a busy training schedule focused on unit level training, crew served weapons firing, small boat operations, flight operations and engineering operations testing.

“While underway, we are conducting training across multiple mission areas, including weapons training, manned and unmanned flight operations, ship-handling and damage control drills,” said Cmdr. Scott Larson, commanding officer, USS Coronado. “Training at sea in these warfare areas maintains crew proficiency and ensures we are ready to operate successfully in a variety of missions.”

The first few days of the underway have primarily focused on flight operations, to include functional check flights, familiarization flights and training and a photo exercise.

“This underway provides a great opportunity for us to conduct flight operations with multiple aircraft flying together,” said Coronado’s Executive Officer, Cmdr. Karl McCarthy. “Building on previous operations, we’ll be conducting simultaneous MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout flight deck evolutions.”

Coronado, the first Independence variant LCS to deploy to the U.S. 7th Fleet, boasts a larger flight deck than the previously deployed Freedom variant, allowing for expanded aviation operations including dual helicopter-UAV operations.

Currently on a rotational deployment, Coronado is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region’s littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future.

Coronado and its combined crew of approximately 100 Sailors and embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 began their deployment June 22, after departing San Diego. Prior to her arrival in Singapore, Coronado participated in the multinational Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 exercise, in which the ship conducted a Harpoon Block 1C missile LCS-based launch, the first of its kind.

On behalf of Commander, Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7 serves as operational commander for littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to 7th Fleet, and conducts advanced planning, organizes resources, and directly supports the execution of maritime engagements such as the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise with Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Sailors prepare an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system prior to performing ground turns aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4), Feb. 10. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Amy M. Ressler)