Ike’s carrier strike group tests missile firing skills

Ships assigned to the strike group of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower performed a multi-ship, live-fire exercise with the Standard Missile (SM-2) on March 15.

Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) is a Raytheon-developed fleet-area air defense weapon which provides anti-air warfare and limited anti-surface warfare capability against anti-ship missiles.

The March 15 exercise was part of the strike group’s final preparation for the composition training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) that certifies all strike groups prior to deployment.

COMPTUEX consists of a variety of training evolutions including anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, strike warfare, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, irregular warfare, counterpiracy, counterproliferation and maritime interdiction scenarios.

The missile firing exercise was led by the carrier strike group’s Air and Missile Defense Commander and San Jacinto Commanding Officer, Capt. Dennis Velez.

“We have always worked to evolve our training, including live firing exercises against high speed targets during and shortly after the Cold War,” said Velez. “And here we are once again adapting and demonstrating our tactical proficiency. With this shoot specifically, we’re seeing our Sailors operate their weapons systems successfully against advanced threats in contested battlespace environments.”

The six combatants–USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Roosevelt (DDG 81), USS Stout (DDG 55) and USS Nitze (DDG 94)–practiced a number of tactical techniques and procedures including cooperative tracking before firing Standard Missiles (SM-2) at the inbound targets.

The U.S. Navy said that all six ships scored kills as measured by the missile and target instrumentation, including two direct hits. This demonstrates a successful ramp-up in an era of continued complexity and tactical relevance in the employment of the Aegis weapons system against high-end threats.

The Ike Carrier strike group is scheduled to deploy this summer.