The US Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) has successfully tested its rolling airframe missile (RAM) system during an at-sea missile exercise (MISSLEX).
During the testing, the ship fired the missile towards a rapidly approaching drone.
Work centre supervisor fire controlman 2nd class Tyler J Brozenick said: "This is as close to an actual engagement that the ship will probably ever see.
"There’s an actual drone coming toward the ship, and we’re able to track it by radar and physically shoot the missile from the launcher. Nothing’s fake, it’s all live."
The latest test marks the second live RAM test conducted onboard the Kearsarge over the last five years.
Brozenick added: "It’s exhilarating. You can see the launcher moving around to get a lock on the drone, and then those two end-caps pop off.
"All of the sudden, you see this giant flash of smoke, this giant rocket leaves the rail, and you hear the boom."
The scenario-based amphibious integration exercise ARG/MEUEX is jointly conducted by the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) in preparation for a future deployment.
In May, the US Navy secured initial operational capability (IOC) for the Block 2 RAM aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, USS Arlington (LPD 24).
The third-generation RAM defensive weapon is integrated with improved kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver, and enhanced control system, allowing the US forces to counter advanced anti-ship cruise missile threats.
Image: USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) fires a rolling airframe missile during a missile exercise. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by mass communication specialist 1st Class Chad Runge / Released.