The US Navy has launched a standard missile (SM-2) in the Virginia Capes operating area from on-board its Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68).

The missile launch targeted a BQM-74E air-launched drone and displayed the destroyer’s ability to defend and protect the ship against a close-in aerial attack.

In addition, the navy vessel successfully demonstrated its ability to employ a layered defence strategy to engage a target using the Mk 45 MOD2 five-inch, 54-calibre gun weapon along with the Aegis Weapons System.

"We are a team. The success of this missile exercise is a testament to the abilities and preparedness of our combat systems and our outstanding crew."

DDG 68 was initially deployed on 26 May as part of the US Navy’s Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG), which is currently forward-deployed in the US 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations.

USS The Sullivans commanding officer commander Russ Moore said: “Our crew has trained and prepared for over a year to be ready to deploy with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

“We are a team. The success of this missile exercise is a testament to the abilities and preparedness of our combat systems and our outstanding crew as we deploy to support maritime security overseas.”

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USS The Sullivans is 505ft-long, has a full load displacement of approximately 8,300t and can travel at a speed of more than 30k.

The keel for the vessel was laid on 14 June 1993. It was subsequently launched on 12 August 1995 and commissioned on 19 April 1997.

The US Navy’s SM-2 missile is a primary surface-to-air air-defence weapon that forms an integral part of the AEGIS Weapon System.

It is primarily deployed on-board the service’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The missile is launched from the Mark 41 vertical launcher system (VLS) and uses tail controls and a solid-fuel rocket motor for propulsion and manoeuvrability.