USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) completed a towed drone unit (TDU) shoot required for carrier qualifications July 14.
The TDU shoot tests the overall effectiveness of the close-in weapon system (CIWS) performed once a year, explained Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Clifford Anderson, safety observer for the TDU exercise.
"We have other tests that test the tracking system and firing system, but this is the only one that tests both the tracking and firing systems together.".
The shoot is designed to prove the capabilities of the ship with the CIWS system.
"We did a pre-action aim calibration fire which involves the CIWS technicians going out and completing the pre-fire of the gun and CS-7 division loading the weapons systems to fire," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Harold Vernon, CIWS and rolling air-frame missile system group supervisor for combat systems department's CS-7 division.
"Once they are shot we ensure the guns are calibrated to zero to guarantee that we can hit the target accurately. It does a self calibration to reach zero to make sure everything is on point."
The purpose is to ensure the readiness of the carrier.
"The evolution really starts two days prior when we do a detect-to-engage drill with our own aircraft to ensure all our systems are operational and are able to track on target without firing rounds," said Vernon.
The CS-7 division checked each piece of gear and put it all together into one evolution with the entire division involved.
"The tactical action officer (TAO) talks directly to the commanding officer to get the go ahead to release the batteries. The TAO gives directions to the radio control panel operator who passes the final word down to the local control panel operator to release the safeties and let the gun do its job."
One hour prior to the evolution, a brief was held to review safety precautions.
"A civilian company is contracted to tow the drone behind them on a 1,500 yard cable for the evolution. Once the plane is here, we do a tracking run to make sure we track the drone and not the Lear jet for the pilot's safety. Once we clear that, we test fire the weapons themselves when the pilot brings the drone around again for the live run. Once we see the jet above us we set the system to fire," explained Anderson.
A lot preparation and planning yielded a successful finish to the TDU shoot for Truman due to the hard work of the combat systems team.
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