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Tortuga Degausses and Tests Radars

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070212-07
Release Date: 2/12/2007 12:44:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick, USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) began Shipboard Electronic System Evaluation Facility (SESEF) and degaussing testing Jan. 26 in preparation for a busy operational schedule.

The SESEF and degaussing testing were included in a three-month selective restricted availability (SRA) period Tortuga recently underwent to ensure the ship is combat-ready and capable of taking on busy forward-deployed regional commitments.

“This training cycle is vital because part of our mission is the protection against mines and if it is not working properly, it could put the ship into jeopardy,” said Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis, Tortuga’s commanding officer. “Any added protection measure against all threats is important to the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The purpose of degaussing is to counteract the ship’s magnetic field and establish a condition so that, as much as possible, the magnetic field about the ship is the same as if it were not there. This procedure reduces the possibility of detonation of magnetically sensitive ordnances or devices.

Over time, the Earth's magnetic field causes a certain amount of magnetic field buildup around a steel-hulled ship, eventually making the ship a floating magnet. That field adds or subtracts to the planet's magnetic field, according to the Navy's scientific documents on degaussing. This change can be detected by magnetically sensitive mines. Degaussing involves methods of reducing the effects of that magnetic field.

The SESEF radar system, also properly calibrated and tested, is vital to the ship’s operations, which include air defense, missile defense, space surveillance, intelligence gathering, range instrumentation and weapon fire control.

“If the SESEF isn’t set accurately, the [system's] bearings could be off and would register an inaccurate reading from the radars,” said Cryptologic Technician Technical 2nd Class Jason F. Farkas. ”When the radar is aligned properly it's accurate.”

Tortuga is a dock-landing ship serving under the commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. ESG 7/Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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