Retired USS frigate torpedoed and explodes during Navy training

Spectacular moment decommissioned US Navy frigate lifts out of the water and explodes after being torpedoed during combat training exercise

  • The ex-USS Ingraham – a US Navy guided-missile frigate – was blown apart using multiple weapons
  • The sinking exercise called SINKEX took place in the Hawaiian Island Operating Area on Sunday 
  • Ingraham was commissioned on August 5, 1981 and decommissioned on January 30, 2015 after more than 25 years of service
  • The exercise was designed to prepare the military to ‘decisively apply force in the maritime battlespace’

The US military has destroyed and sank a retired warship in an exercise designed to prepare the military to ‘decisively apply force in the maritime battlespace’.

The ex-USS Ingraham – a US Navy guided-missile frigate – was blown apart using multiple weapons during a sinking exercise called SINKEX in the Hawaiian Island Operating Area on Sunday.

In footage of the explosion the ship appears to lift out of the water upon impact with the torpedo and then quickly crumbles.

The video then cuts to a clip of the ship where only the bow is seen above water, just before it’s completely submerged in the Pacific Ocean.

Weapons involved included a Super Hornet-launched AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launched from the Marine Corps’ new unnamed ground-based launch vehicles.

There were likely other weapons fired at the ship because of how infrequent yet prized SINKEXs are as a means of seeing just how much damage they can do, although further specifics have not been shared. 


The ex-USS Ingraham – a US Navy guided-missile frigate – was blown apart using multiple weapons during a sinking exercise called SINKEX in the Hawaiian Island Operating Area on Sunday

The US military destroyed and sank a retired warship in an exercise designed to prepare the military to ‘decisively apply force in the maritime battlespace’

Ingraham was commissioned on August 5, 1981 and decommissioned 34 years later on January 30, 2015

‘Lethal combat power was effectively applied to a variety of maritime threats over the last two weeks in a simulated environment as part of the Navy’s Large-Scale Exercise,’ US 3rd Fleet Commander Vince Adm Steve Koehler said in a statement released by Pacific Fleet late last week.

‘The precise and coordinated strikes from the Navy and our joint teammates resulted in the rapid destruction and sinking of the target ship,’ he added. 

Ingraham was commissioned on August 5, 1981 and decommissioned on January 30, 2015 after more than 25 years of service. 

It was the last Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate the US ever built and the fourth ship to bear the name but only the second Ingraham to be used in a sinking exercise, according to the Pacific Fleet’s statement.

Its predecessor, an Allen M Summer-class destroyer, was sold to Greece and sunk as a target during a 2001 military exercise. 

SINKEX have become increasingly common for the US Navy, especially with the growing threats of the Chinese military and its growing fleet, which is already the largest in the world.

A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands during the sinking exercise

The torpedo used in the SINKEX exercise was fired from more than 100 nautical miles away from the warship

US 3rd Fleet personnel stationed in the command’s forward-based expeditionary maritime operations center (EMOC) viewed livestreamed footage of the sinking exercise

The torpedo in this SINKEX exercise was fired from more than 100 nautical miles from the warship.

Pacific Fleet said in its statement that the ship was sunk in an area located at least 50 nautical miles offshore and where the water is at least 6,000 feet deep, as per environmental regulations. 

‘Prior to being transported for participation in a sinking exercise, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process for environmental safety,’ the statement read. 

The exercise ‘provides realistic and relevant training necessary to execute our Navy’s timeless roles of sea control and power projection,’ it added.

The Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) was involved, which used a ground-based vehicle equipped with naval strike missile launchers to fire on enemy naval assets. 

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