USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) successfully fired two Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow missiles and two Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) for the first time, to conclude its first Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials (CSSQT), June 23.

CSSQT is part of the series of qualifications and certifications the aircraft carrier must undergo in preparation for her upcoming maiden deployment.

According to Combat Systems Officer, Cmdr. John B. Vliet, CSSQT is a combined effort between the Combat Systems, Operations and Weapons departments to test the aircraft carrier’s self-defense systems.

“It’s an end-to-end testing of the Combat Systems Suite, to include tactics, techniques, and procedures,” Vliet said. “It’s an operational verification of the ship’s warfighting and self-defense capabilities.

Combat Systems with Operations department has worked around the clock for the last six months, grooming equipment and training for this exercise. More than 200 personnel have directly or indirectly supported this evolution.”

Of those 200-plus personnel, two of the most directly involved were Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Ezekiel S. Ramirez, work center supervisor for the Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System, and Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Ryan P. McWilliams, work center supervisor for the RAM system.

The Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow missile is a semi-active missile that requires feed from directors to locate its target, and the RAM is a passive missile, meaning the missile uses built-in sensors to home in on targets.

All of the missiles used during the launch were telemetry missiles, which are live missiles that have the warheads replaced with data recovery technology used to gauge accuracy.

Ramirez and McWilliams, on board experts for the missile systems, said that the launch was the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that included more than 40 maintenance checks, going aloft to fix radar, multiple pre-fire checks, and 21 “detect-to-engage” pre-fire drills.

“We’ve been preparing for this evolution ever since the ship left the shipyard and we took ownership of the system,” said McWilliams. “This was one of the hardest evolutions Combat Systems department will have to do during the existence of this aircraft carrier.”

Prior to the launch, Ramirez and McWilliams were responsible for loading the two launchers for each system.

“The NATO Sea Sparrow Missile system holds eight missiles in each launcher and the RAM uses 21 missiles in each launcher,” said Ramirez. “It’s a lot of work for one launch, but when we deploy we will have to load a total of 58 missiles.”

Source: Space Daily

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USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) successfully fired two Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow missiles…