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Kernel Blitz

Kernel Blitz [frequently mis-spelled "Kernal Blitz"] is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3) / 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations. Kernel Blitz tests the ability of Navy and Marine Corps forces to plan and conduct a brigade-size amphibious landing operation; it is the only regularly scheduled exercise of its kind in the Pacific.

Amphibious landing operations are considered among the most complex of all naval maneuvers. The United States is the only nation currently maintaining a brigade-level amphibious assault capability. Most of the world's population lives along the littorals, within a hundred or so miles of the coast. The Navy and Marine Corps are extending their ability to operate from ships over the horizon all the way to two hundred miles inland. The United States Navy and Marine Corps are an expeditionary team. Thus they operate in the littorals-in the sea and on the land along the coastline. Expeditionary work takes a very different set of operational capabilities from those needed in blue-water fleet operations. The Navy must bring in the Marines and support them ashore to accomplish missions that range from humanitarian operations to forced entry high-intensity warfare.

Kernel Blitz 95

Kernel Blitz '95, an amphibious warfare training exercise sponsored by the Third Fleet, was the Navy's first use of M&S to support live training. The amphibious assault scenario with 12,000 personnel, 23 ships & aircraft from all services. Naval Doctrine Command was the Navy's lead command for M&S components. Over 150 simulated entities were used, including a carrier battle group as well as geotranslated mine countermeasures ships from the Gulf of Mexico. Interactive simulations stimulated actual command tactical displays. Geographically dispersed simulations were linked to the exercise via the Defense Simulation Internet.

On 15 April 1995, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fifteen [HM-15] deployed aboard the USS Tripoli (LPH-10) for Exercise KERNEL BLITZ 95. During this exercise, HM-15 achieved the first ever simultaneous launching of three MK-105 minesweeping platforms in thirty minutes, setting a new benchmark for AMCM MK-105 operations from an LPH-class ship.

Kernel Blitz 97

Kernel Blitz '97 was an amphibious war exercise in which 26,000 Marines and Navy sailors took part. The hospital ship USNS Mercy was activated during Kernel Blitz 97, a major amphibious exercise in Southern California and waters offshore between 20 June 1997 and 03 July 1997. More than 200 Sailors and Marines were cosmetically prepared to play the role of casualties who were treated by active duty and reserve medical personnel during the medical exercise over a four-day period. Casualties were treated through five echelons of medical care from initial treatment in the field to medical facilities aboard amphibious ships to more extensive treatment on the hospital ship and, finally, to fleet hospital facilities ashore. Casualties were evacuated by National Guard and Coast Guard Medevac helicopters.

Kernel Blitz 97 was a major amphibious exercise taking place in Southern California and waters offshore. More than 12,000 sailors, Marines, soldiers, guardsmen and airmen were involved in the exercise which was designed to test the Navy-Marine Corps team's ability to project combat power ashore.

Marines from the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Amphibious Armored Vehicle Battalion added realism to Exercise Kernel Blitz 97 by driving former Soviet bloc armored vehicles at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on June 21, 1997. These Marines were acting as the opposing force, commonly called the OPFOR.

Kernel Blitz 99

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary forces tested their ability to operate in the littoral and project combat power ashore during "Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99." KERNEL BLITZ included two experiments, one technology demonstration and a major amphibious landing exercise. The exercise consisted of three phases that began March 10 and concluded April 30. More than 15 ships and 12,000 Sailors and Marines from southern California participated in the exercise under the overall direction of VADM Dennis V. McGinn, commander, Third Fleet, and LGEN Bruce B. Knutson Jr, commanding general, First Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Navy's Maritime Battle Center, based in Newport, RI, conducted "Fleet Battle Experiment Echo," testing major concepts of Joint Vision 2010. This battle experiment examined the operational and tactical level of war in the 2005-2010 timeframe with the theme, "Network Centric Warfare in the Urban Littoral and Asymmetric Maritime Dominance."

The Marine Corps' "Urban Warrior," conducted by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab based in Quantico, Va., took place near the San Francisco bay area in March. It was a humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and urban security exercise.

An advanced concept technology demonstration took place during the second phase of KERNEL BLITZ. "Extending the Littoral Battlespace," sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command from Camp Smith, Hi, was conducted by the Office of Naval Research based in Arlington, Va. Called "Littoral Lightning," the demonstration examined enhanced integrated command and control, fire support and targeting capabilities.

The final phase of KERNEL BLITZ was a major amphibious landing exercise on Red Beach at Camp Pendleton called "KERNEL BLITZ PRIME." A large casualty management exercise, including fleet and field-based surgical assets, highlighted this phase.

The Coastal Systems Station (CSS) has long been a respected leader in sensing science and technology. CSS participated in the Kernel Blitz '99 military exercises, which took place off the coast of Southern California from March-May 1999. Kernel Blitz is a major Navy and Marine Corps exercise held biennially to evaluate tactics and systems for achieving battlespace dominance of the littoral region. Under the overall command of the Commander, Third Fleet and the Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, combat scenarios were practiced in three phases, each of which tested one or more CSS-developed systems. Among the systems demonstrated were two of the Advanced Sensors developed at CSS, under funding from the Advanced Sensors Program managed by Dr. Douglas Todoroff at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) and the Electro-Optic Identification system (EOID) are state-of-the-art sensors that show great promise to improve the Navy's mine countermeasures (MCM) capabilities. The SAS locates bottom or partially buried mines, and the EOID produces images of bottom-lying and moored contacts. Both sensors have been demonstrated in previous Naval exercises and were employed in coastal water search operations for a downed commercial airliner.

A portion of Kernel Blitz '99 involved day and night MCM operations to support an amphibious landing against a defended beach. In this demonstration, the primary objective of the Advanced Sensors was to use the EOID to reacquire and identify mine-like targets found by the AQS-14 helicopter-borne sonar. The secondary objective was to use the SAS to detect and classify mines and then to use the EOID to reacquire and identify the mine-like targets detected by the SAS. Tasking for use of the Advanced Sensors was provided by the Mine Countermeasures Squadron Three based in Ingleside, Texas, and the systems were towed by the Research Vessel (R/V) Knorr in water depths of 60 to 160 feet. During five missions the Advanced Sensors were tasked to pursue, problems such as extreme clutter, high turbidity, kelp entanglement, and minor equipment failures were encountered. Sensor performance was nonetheless superior to that attainable by current systems.

Kernel Blitz 2001 (KB01)

Kernel Blitz took place March 20 to April 6, 2001. The exercise involved approximately 25 ships 75 aircraft and 15,000 Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen representing the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain. Navy and Marine Corps forces conducted the large-scale amphibious landing exercise in the vicinity of Camp Pendleton, Calif. The exercise was designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations. Ships of the United States Third Fleet landed ashore Marines of the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade by means of helicopter, hovercraft and conventional landing craft. The landing force then practiced maneuvers while the ships concentrate on providing follow-on support from the sea.

Kernel Blitz Experimentation 2001 (KBX-01) is the first large-scale test of a fully-integrated joint information and command network. The network shares information between units and provides a common tactical picture. This network gives commanders the means for making faster, better-informed decisions. The largest experimentation and demonstration exercise ever conducted, KBX-01 focused on a number of emerging 21st century technologies. The two areas of concentration are network-centric warfare - the use of voice and data networks to link platforms and units in support of time-critical operations; and ship-to-objective maneuver - the use of emerging technologies to link sea and ground forces and expand sea-based operations to locations far inland. The exercise had a 2007-2010 technology focus and was conducted within the context of a strategic partnership involving a number of military laboratories, program offices and joint military forces.

The sandy beaches and shores along Camp Pendleton came alive as 25 ships, 75 aircraft and approximately 15,000 Sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen and Coast Guardsmen representing four nations began the largest joint training exercise of the year. Ships of the United States Third Fleet landed Marines of the First Marine Expeditionary Force by means of helicopter, hovercraft and conventional landing craft. The landing force practiced maneuvers while the ships concentrated on providing follow-on support from the sea. The exercise included amphibious landings and naval gunfire support, medical evacuations and humanitarian assistance. The sea forces were made up of 25 ships including a Canadian frigate, the hospital ship USNS MERCY, and three large Amphibious Assault ships with their embarked airwings. USNS MERCY served as a sea-based platform for medical care and triage during the two-week exercise.

Fleet Battle Experiment India -- Putting network-centric warfare concepts into practice by building and maintaining a wide-area-relay network that links both ships and small ground units to facilitate a military attack. Sponsored by the Navy Warfare Development Command.

Capable Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiment -- Examining how technological improvements affect over-the-horizon communications, precision-targeting, reconnaissance surveillance and target acquisition, and small unit logistics within to a Marine infantry battalion. Sponsored by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Extending the Littoral Battle Space Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration -- Enhancing the robustness, interoperability and security of wireless networking technology at the small unit level. Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

Commander-in-Chief 21st Century Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration -- Focusing on visualization and knowledge management-putting the right information in front of the right decision maker at the right time to enhance force effectiveness. Sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and the Office of Naval Research.

Joint Medical Operations-Telemedicine Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration -- A casualty management exercise using wireless technology to report, track and manage injuries.

Four MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters and more than 190 pilots, air crew and maintenance personnel from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM 15) deployed from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, to participate in Exercise Kernel Blitz 01. In addition, more than 500 Naval Reserve medical and dental health care personnel supported this large-scale international exercise. Scores of other Naval Reservists deployed to various ships, aircraft and shore units to augment U.S. Navy efforts.

USS CHIEF (MCM 14) along with USS DEVASTATOR (MCM 6), USS SCOUT (MCM 8) and USS AVENGER (MCM 1) sailed from Ingleside, Texas, February 15, 2001, for a six-month deployment with Mine Warfare Readiness Group Three. Kernel Blitz lasted two weeks and was all serious business. Each ship conducted coordinated exercise minesweeping and hunting in preparation for a major amphibious assault landing. The best way to describe the exercise was "intensive hunting and neutralization at its finest!!!" All four Ingleside minesweepers were at their top performance. The preparation that went into being successful at Kernel Blitz stretches back to the intensive training at home with the assistance of Ingleside's Fleet Support Activity and our Afloat Training Group. Kernel Blitz was a group effort with support from Ingleside that was led by Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2 staff.

Kernel Blitz 03



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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:30:05 ZULU