US Navy tests VLS reload aboard Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

The US Navy has scheduled to demonstrate re-arming the vertical launch system (VLS) aboard Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) at Naval Air Station North Island and in the San Diego Harbor.

The event takes place between 4 and 7 October. This will be the first time the US Navy has tested VLS reloading from an offshore support vessel platform, using military sealift command fleet experimentation ship MV Ocean Valor.

The demonstration is being conducted to provide proof of concept that an offshore support vessel can reload the weapons system pierside and while the ship is at sea.

Specifically, the goal is to expand the capability of VLS reloading in expeditionary environments.

The launch system re-load has been tested previously, in 2016 and 2019, using other military sealift command platforms.

The demonstration will not include live ordnance and there is no danger posed to the residents of San Diego, the harbor or sea life, according to the navy.

Spruance, named for Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, who commanded US forces at the Battle of Midway, is homeported in San Diego.

The ship returned to the Naval Base San Diego in August following a seven-month deployment with Carrier Strike Group 3 to the US 3rd and 7th Fleets.

An integral part of US Pacific Fleet, the US 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific to provide realistic, relevant training necessary to execute the navy’s role across the full spectrum of military operations—from combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Spruance was also one of 38 ships from 26 partner nations that took part in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC 2022) in the Hawaiian Islands Operating Area from June to August.

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Built in 2002, MV Ocean Valor is an MSC-contracted vessel that supports logistics experimentation for fuel, stores, passengers and ordnance delivery.

Photo: US Navy