The US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) has conducted a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of southern California to test the latest AEGIS baseline 9 combat system.

Last year, USS Mobile Bay was upgraded from the Aegis baseline 8 combat system to the latest configuration, which enhances the accuracy, range and weapons capabilities of the vessel.

As part of the test, the ship fired two Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) missiles and one Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) from the forward launcher on the vessel’s forecastle.

The drill was primarily carried out to test the fire control loop with the 9 on 8 computer programme and assess the capabilities of some newly launched advanced features with 9 on 8.

“This is proof of the soundness of our combat system modernisation plan.”

Naval Sea Systems Command Programme Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems Aegis fleet readiness officer captain Andrew Biehn said: “Specifically, bringing Baseline 9 on 8 to Mobile Bay enables her to employ the SM-6 missile, conduct naval integrated fire control-counter air (NIFC-CA), and employ the latest Aegis Weapons Systems capabilities against air and missile threats.

“Mobile Bay now has the most advanced integrated combat system in the world. This is proof of the soundness of our combat system modernisation plan, using open architecture principles and software upgrades to rapidly provide capability to the warfighter and further increase the lethality of our surface navy.”

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The Aegis baseline 9 combat system upgrade was carried out for one year under the collaboration of the crew of the Mobile Bay, Department of the Navy civilians and the defence contractors.

The new update enables the crew members to track and execute enemy missiles and aircraft with precise accuracy using radars aboard the vessel.

In 2010, CG 53 was upgraded to the Aegis baseline 8 combat system as part of a cruiser improvement initiative.