WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. and Spanish navies successfully conducted a Combined Combat System Ship Qualifications Trials (CSSQT) off the coast of Wallops Island, Va. July 17-22.
USS Mason (DDG 87) and the Spanish frigate Alvaro De Bazan (F 101) participated in the trial, which was the first Aegis Combined CSSQT with a foreign navy.
CSSQT is a series of at-sea exercises and tests to verify that shipboard systems have been installed correctly, and can be operated and maintained safely and effectively. The Combined CSSQT was sponsored by the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems and the Spanish F 100 Program Office.
"Success does not begin to describe the day," wrote Rear Adm. Anthony Lengerich, vice commander, Naval Sea Systems Command in a letter to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Vern Clark, about events taking place July 19.
Lengerich accompanied Spain's Secretary of Defense, Fernando Diez Moreno, and the Spanish CNO, Adm. Francisco Torrente Sanchez, along with other Spanish officials in observing two successful SM-2 firings. "I was most impressed with the ship, the systems, the crew, their training and readiness and her officers," wrote Lengerich.
During the course of the trials, Mason successfully fired four SM-2 Block III missiles. Alvaro De Bazan also successfully fired four SM-2 Block IIIA Missiles, including one firing conducted with six U.S. ships.
The CSSQT consisted of several firsts, including the launching of the first SM-2 from a Spanish ship. Additionally, Alvaro de Bazan and two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets successfully completed the first at-sea shipboard and airborne Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) to MIDS exchange of Link 16 data during the CSSQT. MIDS is an advanced Link-16 command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) system.
Alvaro De Bazan, commissioned in September 2002, is the first European naval ship equipped with the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) and is one of four bought by Spain. All four ships are scheduled to enter service by 2006.
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