USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, at sea (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) successfully completed a NATO Sea Sparrow Missile exercise at sea July 15 to certify that the ship's missile system is sufficiently capable of warding off certain types of threats.
Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Harold Vernon said the exercise included two parts: the first being to hit an air target and the other to hit a surface target.
To simulate protecting the ship from an aerial threat, Sailors employed two drones, which approached the ship in a stream-raid flight pattern. On board Truman a missile was fired to intercept the drones, hitting both targets.
Another missile was fired to intercept a surface target the size of a sail boat moving at 10 knots. The purpose was to test a new camera sensor installed on the NATO Sea Sparrow launcher.
The cameras are designed to give improved range and the ability to visually identify any surface crafts in the area, said Vernon.
Sailors on board Truman endured a lot of hard work and preparation to ensure a successful evolution.
"It took approximately 70 hours of preparation from four NATO technicians and combat systems (CS-7) division in support to get this program done," said Vernon. "They have been preparing for this missile shoot for the last month."
"Teamwork is essential," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Clifford Maass. "There are certain steps in loading the missiles that require at least three people at a time. The whole evolution takes six people on deck to complete, and each person is vital."
Safety was also an important issue in the missile exercise.
"We all have our ammo handling physical qualification, and we have to get ammo handling qualified, which gets done with the ordnance handling officer," said Maass. "Once we are all qualified, we actually go to schools in Dam Neck, Va., to qualify ourselves on shore before we are allowed to do this on a ship."
USS Harry S. Truman is currently conducting work-up evolutions in preparation for deployment later this year. With the recent completion of composite training unit exercise, Truman and its attached battle group are nearing certification as the Navy's ready deployable carrier strike group.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.