USS Harry S. Truman to Conduct CSSQT

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departed Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 24 to conduct combat systems ship qualification trials (CSSQT).

CSSQT is an operational test of Truman’s close-in weapons system (CIWS), rolling airframe missile (RAM) and NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System (NSSMS).

Fire Controlman 3rd Class Ronda Johnson, one of four CIWS technicians aboard Truman, said the CIWS is scheduled to be tested in a surface engagement drill and a towed drone unit (TDU) drill in addition to the pre-aim calibration fire (PACFIRE) that was conducted Sept 24. The surface engagement drill will use a remote controlled high-speed moving surface target (HSMST).

The TDU, which will be towed by aircraft, will serve as an airborne target upon which the CIWS will track and fire.

“A PACFIRE drill includes pre-fire checks, setting hazardous electromagnetic radiation to ordnance (HERO) conditions and an ammo upload, which can take up to 10 hours of preparation,” said Johnson.

Fire Controlman 3rd Class Adam Ellsworth, another of Truman’s CIWS technicians, said he is excited to see his hard work pay off during the CIWS operations.

“After all of the man hours and hands-on preparation, it’s always worth it to see the CIWS fire,” said Ellsworth. “We spend hours preparing for a 1.5-second burst of fire.”

The NSSMS and RAM are scheduled to be tested later in the week.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Michael Desantis, NSSMS work center supervisor for combat systems department’s CS-7 division, has spent three weeks preparing the missiles for CSSQT.

“One missile will be fired at a drone controlled from shore,” said Desantis. “Our goal during the test will be to get the unarmed missile as close to the drone as possible without hitting it.”

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) 2 Eric Stolen, CS-7’s division officer, said it is important to ensure Truman’s ship’s self defense system (SSDS), which encompasses all on board weapons systems, is tested and ready for use.

“The SSDS is responsible for defending the ship from any hostile threat,” said Stolen. “The biggest dangers we face overseas are missile threats and attacks from small, high-speed craft. With the NSSMS, RAM and CIWS systems, we have layers of protection against any threat. At a rate of fire between 45 and 100 rounds per second, the CIWS is more than capable of shredding anything that poses a threat to us.”

Truman is scheduled to complete CSSQT later this week.

Naval Today Staff, September 26, 2012