By Lt. j.g. Sarah Claudy, USS Donald Cook Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) successfully completed a Live Fire with a Purpose (LFWAP) missile demonstration during Joint Warrior 20-2 by destroying a high speed maneuvering target using a Standard Missile 2 (SM-2), Oct. 14, 2020.
Donald Cook’s missile launch contributed to the high-end naval warfare exercise Joint Warrior 20-2, a U.K.-hosted bi-annual NATO exercise that incorporates surface, subsurface, airborne, and land assets to provide joint training for NATO units and partners.
“The live fire was the culmination of a lot of training,” said Cmdr. Kelley T. Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “We’ve been working towards this day for months now, and we had several rehearsals with Allied aircraft, all to make sure we executed proficiently.”
The missile test ensured Donald Cook remains trained and capable of defending themselves and our Allies, providing for collective defense.
Donald Cook ran simulated firing scenarios for two weeks before the live firing date, and practiced twice with live aircraft that replicated the flight profile of an inbound missile. Such an intense preparation regimen ensures that the watch team is ready to fire both in a training scenario and during actual weapon deployment.
To prepare for the event, Donald Cook hosted an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) during the final days leading up to the firing event. To support LFWAP events across the fleet, WTIs come onboard participating ships to help coordinate the last steps of planning, training, and execution of the missile launch.
“We appreciated the guidance from Lt. Cmdr. Tim Barry,” remarked Jones. “His training made this feel like we were preparing for a real-world operation.”
Donald Cook joined USS Ross (DDG 71), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), U.S. P-8s, and units from 11 other nations in Joint Warrior participation.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Donald Cook and Ross are based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. In support of Sixth Fleet, these Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.