NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Fire controlmen aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) completed final loading tests on the ship's Rolling Airframe Missile system (RAM) May 28, making TR's missile defense system ready for actual launch testing.
"The RAM system is vital to defending the ship when it's out at sea," said Ensign Andrew Martin, TR's Fire Control Officer. "This is the last step before firing the actual missile. We hope to fire a live missile during TR's sea qualifications."
During the testing, an inert missile was lifted out of a tri-pac missile container by a crane mounted on the RAM missile system. Once lifted to the proper height, the missile is carefully moved into place and slowly loaded into the RAM.
Passing the RAM operational test consists of two major factors, said Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Austin Lyles, the fire control department supervisor. First, Sailors ensure that the loading crane can handle the weight of lifting and loading a missile. Second, they make sure that the RAM launcher properly accepts missiles into its loading pods.
The RAM missile systems were removed from TR early in its Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) and completely rebuilt, ensuring quality standards were met and exceeded requirements, Martin said.
"It's pretty crazy to see the transformation," said Lyles. "This used to be a blank deck with nothing on it. Now it has a fully operational missile system."
Prior to the actual loading exercise, the fire controlmen went through extensive safety and handling training. General quarters drills, held throughout the year, gave Sailors the opportunity to simulate loss of power and incoming targets, ensuring the ship and its crew are well prepared for its return to the fleet. This test brings TR one step closer to finishing its midlife RCOH period and returning to the operational fleet.
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.