The US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), has successfully concluded a missile exercise (MISSILEX) off the coast of Virginia.

LHD 7 fired a rolling airframe missile (RAM) as part of the test, which successfully hit against a remote-controlled, subsonic missile drone that was deployed to simulate an anti-ship cruise missile.

The trial demonstrated the US Navy’s continued efforts to train for the current warfighting environment and to ensure that the amphibious assault ship is adequately prepared to fight any aerial threat.

"The MISSILEX will demonstrate the proficiency of our air-side combat watch team in Combat Information Centre (CIC)."

US Navy 2nd Class fire controlman Damian Blackwell said: “The MISSILEX will demonstrate the proficiency of our air-side combat watch team in Combat Information Centre (CIC).

“It will test the ability of our radars to track an inbound drone, assign a missile system and most importantly prove to the navy that the Iwo Jima has the ability to defend itself when operating in our area of responsibility.”

The US Navy’s Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is primarily deployed to Europe and the Middle East to support maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts.

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The ARG embarks the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and includes Iwo Jima, along with the navy’s amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Teams 4 and 8 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28.

Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 4 also form part of the Iwo Jima ARG.

Components of the Iwo Jima ARG and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit previously conducted a Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Virginia in November last year.