USS Emory S. Land, USS Frank Cable Sailors Load Eleven Live CLS Tomahawks Aboard USS Oklahoma

USS Emory S. Land, USS Frank Cable Sailors Load Eleven Live CLS Tomahawks Aboard USS Oklahoma

USS Emory S. Land and USS Frank Cable Sailors loaded eleven live Capsule Launch System (CLS) Tomahawks for the first time aboard Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City’s (SSN 723) Vertical Launch System (VLS) Dec. 12-14.

Oklahoma City was assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron 15 (CSS 15) in March 2011, and is the first VLS capable submarine to be forward deployed to Guam.

“This was the first time loading Vertical Launch Tomahawk missiles in Guam in a very long time,” said Capt. John Russ, commodore of CSS 15.

To prepare for this event, Sailors from CSS 15, Land, Cable and Oklahoma City trained for several months making sure they knew all the procedures before loading live tomahawks aboard the submarine.

“We are taking it slow and being very thorough and safe for those who haven’t done this in awhile,” said Russ.

Loadout Team Leader Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Justin Russell directed the entire operation and made sure that everything was done in order and the Sailors followed the checklist.

“We have to inspect all the stuff before hand,” said Russell. “Once we bring it up here we also have to check it when we plug it all up to make sure everything works the way it is supposed to.”

Having VLS platforms on the newer 688 type submarines brings significantly enhanced Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) strike capabilities to the Navy. The VLS allows the submarine to carry twelve TLAM’s without taking up any space away from the torpedo room, giving full load capacity for their missions.

Another VLS submarine, Los Angeles-class submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721), will be reporting to Guam to replace Los Angeles-class submarine USS Houston (SSN 713). A third VLS capable submarine will be stationed on Guam in late 2012 or early 2013.

“The Sailors’ safety was paramount, and they exercised that to the fullest,” said Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Joshua Ellison.

Frank Cable is being temporarily relieved by USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) as the primary afloat maintenance activity in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff , December 20, 2011; Image: navy