By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Claire DuBois
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fired a Standard Missile – 2 (SM-2) at a subsonic sea skimming target during a Live Fire With a Purpose exercise (LFWAP), June 1, 2021, proving the ship is capable of air defense in a maritime environment.
“Launching the SM-2 was a privilege for the ship and Sailors on board,” said Cmdr. John D. John, commanding officer of Ross. “This can be a once-in-a-career experience for many Sailors and I’m proud of our team for completing the launch flawlessly and proving Ross is a ready fighting force in the region.”
LFWAP, performed routinely by surface combatants under the supervision of Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, is a part of Ross’ participation in Exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021.
“It was a good feeling knowing that our equipment worked as intended,” said Fire Controlman (Aegis) 3rd Class Jeremiah Valentine, who launched the missile. “This was something I will never forget.”
At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021, conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of U.S. Sixth Fleet, is a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise that improves Allied interoperability using NATO command and control reporting structures.
Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on patrol in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.