US ships complete live-fire exercise

In conjunction with the Missile Defense Agency, guided-missile cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), along with guided-missile destroyers USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) and USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), successfully executed a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of North Carolina Feb. 4.

This exercise demonstrated the effective employment of the ships integrated naval weapons systems (AEGIS), while giving each ship’s crew the opportunity to track and guide weapons, and destroy simulated enemy targets in a live scenario. The exercise was intended to enhance crew proficiency on the combat system. During the event, all ships shared a common tactical picture and each was given the opportunity to perform a standard missile intercept evolution.

The AEGIS weapon system is a centralized, automated, command-and-control weapons system, designed for detection and engagement. The heart of the system is the AN/SPY-1 radar, which is an advanced automatic detect and track radar, able to perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously on more than 100 targets.

Utilizing the AEGIS combat weapons system, Combat Systems watch standers from all four ships successfully detected, identified and tracked the remote controlled targets, engaging in respective order.

This live fire exercise is one of many pre-deployment scenarios Sailors and ships will participate in prior to being certified for deployments. These evolutions test nearly every aspect of shipboard operations, preparing Sailors for any situation they may face during a deployment.

“The fleet has to be ready to fight and win,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “And we have to be ready to operate in these contested environments.”

Close coordination planning between all firing units; Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8; and Navy Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center ensured a safe and professionally executed series of events.