The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), has successfully completed light-off assessment (LOA) of its Aegis Combat System at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard.

The LOA, which marks the start of the vessel’s combat system testing, is intended to ensure all combat system equipment is operational and communicative.

The USS Rafael Peralta destroyer will feature the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, comprising Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability. This involves a Ballistic Missile Defense 5.0 Capability Upgrade (BMD 5.0CU) and Naval integrated fire control-counter air (NIFC-CA).

" she has achieved Aegis light-off, the most critical combat system milestone for new construction Aegis destroyers."

PEO Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS 1.0) Aegis combat systems programme manager captain Tom Druggan said: "Aegis Baseline 9 expands our engageable battlespace eight-fold, and is delivering key capabilities in support of distributed lethality.

"Fleet introduction of Aegis Baseline 9 is going very well, including deployments and carrier strike group operations, and the fleet is excited about adding another extremely capable, multi-mission Aegis destroyer to the fleet."

The Aegis Baseline 9 IAMD provides increased computing power for the destroyers.

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The multi-mission surface combatant are designed to support missions including air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defence, as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 51 class programme manager captain Mark Vandroff said: "I look forward to a successful test programme, and taking DDG 115 to sea in 2016.

"This is the first BIW DDG 51 restart destroyer to achieve Aegis light off, and we’re excited to provide the fleet with another DDG 51 equipped with enhanced IAMD warfighting capabilities.

"I’m tremendously excited that she has achieved Aegis light-off, the most critical combat system milestone for new construction Aegis destroyers."

Launched on 1 November, the USS Rafael Peralta represents the 65th Arleigh Burke-class frigate.

The 9,200t, 509ft-long Rafael Peralta has 59ft waterline beam, a navigational draft of 31ft and is powered by four gas turbine engines to cruise at speeds in excess of 30k.