SINKEX Program

SINKEX is live fire training exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy to practice gunnery, torpedo accuracy, and missile drills on decommissioned Naval Warships. It gives the U.S. Navy the opportunity to practice on live targets, using real ammunition, and observing the results.

Benefits of SINKEX

The SINKEX program provides: Real-world, hardened target for at-sea live-fire exercises, validation and reinforcement of end-to-end use of live ordnance at sea, enhancement and maintenance of combat readiness deployable units, opportunities for air, surface and subsurface forces to integrate, plan, and execute firing and tactics plans; enhanced training opportunities with multi-national forces; disposal of unwanted, dangerous, and expensive to maintain ships at a minimal cost, with maximum gain.

Environmental Concerns

Deep-water sinking requires the removal of environmentally hazardous materials from ships before they are sunk.  The Environmental Protection Agency and the Navy under agreement have identified those materials that must be removed from the vessel in preparation for a SINKEX exercise. Procedures are implemented to ensure that the vessel sinks to the bottom rapidly and permanently and that marine navigation is not impaired by the sunken vessel. All such vessel sinking’s are conducted in water of at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) and at least 50 nautical miles from land.

Vessel Availability

The Maritime Administration and the Navy developed a memorandum of agreement to include selected ships in the Maritime Administration’s inventory in the Navy's SINKEX program. The Maritime Administration and the Navy conduct vessel inspections and develop cost estimates before agreeing on a specific vessel for inclusion into the SINKEX program. Due to material condition not all of the Maritime Administration vessels are good candidates for SINKEX.