NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) tested one of its weapon systems, Aug. 21, by launching a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM).
The RAM is a lightweight quick-reaction, fire-and-forget missile designed to destroy anti-ship missiles and asymmetric air and surface threats.
"The RAM shoot went as perfectly as we scripted it," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gilbert Mariano, Truman's self-defense systems officer. "Everybody was on station, and it went as well as we've practiced it."
He said a drone, which is a remote controlled aircraft, is flown at the ship and acts as an enemy missile. Mariano said it was the first time the Truman shot off a RAM, and it destroyed the drone brilliantly.
"When we conduct training exercises, you have comfort value that a missile is not going to be launched," he said. "When you are really firing, there is a little bit more adrenaline and more of a rush. There are a lot of things that could go wrong when you hit that fire button, and you have to take safety precautions."
Mariano said they send out notices to mariners ahead of time and deploy a helicopter to clear the range.
"I was the safety observer," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jennie White. "We had security posted outside and on the flight deck. No one could go outside and access the general area of the RAM and that way we ensure no one would get hurt."
She said there are many things that could go wrong during a live-fire exercise, so safety measures are paramount.
"It is always good to prove to everybody on the ship that we are here to protect the ship," White said. "Even though we don't do live fire shots very often, we are showing the crew that if, God forbid, we had to defend this ship, we are good at what we do."
Mariano said the entire Combat Systems Department, and the ship, did excellent during the RAM shoot.
"Firing the RAM is what I like best about my job," White said. "The RAM shot was a display of flawless execution."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/ .