The US Navy's Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) has successfully launched a Nato Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile.
The missile engaged a target drone following its launch, which was conducted during a fleet firing exercise, Valiant Shield 2016 (VS16), held off the coast of Guam, US.
USS Bonhomme Richard combat systems maintenance manager and senior chief fire controlman Joshua Patat said that the launch was conducted to evaluate the vessel’s self-defence capabilities and the watchstanders' abilities to respond to an anti-ship cruise missile threat.
Patat said: "It has been five years since the last time we fired our Nato system and it operated perfectly.
"I have seen four Nato launches in my career, and I have to say this was the best and smoothest one I have ever seen.
“The drone ran its course as we planned, the system tracked it the whole way, and Nato killed it just as the system was designed to do."
Prior to firing the missile, the navy personnel ensured that there were no other vessels in the surrounding and no people outside the skin of the ship.
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Corie Hill said: "There are many safety concerns when it comes to a missile launch.
"We do not want anyone that is sailing nearby being hit with the drone or personnel being injured on deck by a potential rogue drone or the missile launch."
The Seasparrow missile is a radar-guided, surface-to-air missile designed based on the US Navy and Marine Corps AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile.
It provides ship self-defence capability against different air and surface threats such as high-speed, low-altitude anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).
Currently, the US Navy has deployed the RIM-7 Seasparrow aboard three ship classes, CVN aircraft carriers, Landing Helicopter Assault ships, and Landing Helicopter dock, using the MK 57 Nato Seasparrow missile system (NSSMS) and MK 29 guided missile launching system (GMLS).
Image: USS Bonhomme Richard fires Nato Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan / Released.