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Tomahawk Strike Team Conducts Training Exercise Aboard USS Rafael Peralta

27 May 2021

From Mass Communications Specialist Third Class Daniel Serianni

SEA OF JAPAN - The U.S. Navy conducted a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) strike scenario in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations as part of a fleet-level training exercise, May 20 and 25.

The TLAM is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for deep land attack warfare, and launches from U.S. surface ships and submarines. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) participated in the training scenario.

Tomahawk strike teams routinely conduct fleet-level training scenarios to maintain tactical and technical proficiency and integrate updated fleet tactics, in order to safely employ Tomahawk cruise missiles in support of theater operations.

"The ever-changing dynamic in the 7th Fleet area of operations dictates that we must maintain the highest mission readiness and capability when it comes to the safe employment of tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles,” said Ensign Michael Castro, strike officer aboard USS Rafael Peralta. “We must be ready at all times to answer the Fleet's expanding demands and changing needs.”

Fleet-level training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air and on land in response to a range of mission areas. This exercise demonstrates Rafael Peralta’s ability to track, target, and engage threats to protect peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Each exercise builds on lessons learned from previous training to enhance capabilities and develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures.

The TLAM is designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission-tailored guidance systems. The first operational use was during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In 2018, the US Navy launched a total of 60 Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAMS) against Syria to cripple their ability to develop, deploy, and use chemical weapons. USS Higgins (DDG76) fired 23 TLAMS from the North Arabian Gulf against the targeted capabilities to stop the regime from using the banned weapons. The missile has since been employed successfully in several other conflicts.

Rafael Peralta is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force interacting with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict in the Indo-Pacific.


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