ABOARD USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) took another step toward becoming surge ready, sucessfully completing Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) Dec. 13 and 14 by launching missiles for the first time in more than five years.
"After an [aircraft carrier] goes through a shipyard period, Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials is done to make sure the ship can defend herself," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Chad Beaulieu.
During the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier's Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), which spanned from 2001 to earlier this year, Ike was stripped down, rebuilt and given numerous technological and weapons system upgrades.
One such upgrade involved the ship's point defense system. Ike was previously armed with the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS); but during the overhaul, the carrier was outfitted with the new RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM).
The RIM-116 is designed as an all-weather, high-firepower, low-cost self-defense system against anti-ship cruise missiles and other asymmetric threats.
It was a momentous occasion in the warship's history as Ike showed that, not only could she professionally launch and recover aircraft, she could also defend herself, with the launching of self-defense missiles.
In total, two RAMs and seven Sea Sparrow missiles were fired during the two-day exercise. The training weaponry was fired at a drone which was designed to emulate an anti-ship missile.
The drones, which were destroyed during the exercise, were launched from Wallops Island, Md. As they began to approach Ike, the Sailors working behind the scenes aboard the ship tracked the drones and were able to expertly eliminate them.
"After the drone reached the five-mile range, it was eliminated by the NATO directors," said Senior Chief Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Terry Beddow.
Ike has taken tremendous strides toward earning surge-ready status throughout 2005. She completed RCOH, two rounds of Sea Trials and Flight Deck Certifications, her Post Shakedown/Selected Restricted Availability and numerous other qualifications.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.