Carrying a load of guns aboard a vessel requires some serious maintenance. Given its massive weapon, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) undergoes such maintenance fire tests once a month.
The vessel’s MK 45 – 5-inch 54/62 caliber gun can fire 70-pound rounds up to 13 nautical miles (NM) and works with the ship’s combat systems to deliver them accurately to their targets.
Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class David Pike said:
We test the gun’s physical and electronic systems monthly with the fire controlmen. We do that to ensure the gun is always ready to fire.
Before we can fire the gun, we always do ‘pre-fires’. That’s testing the gun’s systems on the gunner’s mate side and it happens the day before.
Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Alfred Ray said:
We unload the live rounds and then we test both our emergency and local firing circuits with simulated rounds. We want to make sure they work in a worst-case scenario.
We coordinate with the fire controlmen and make sure the data they need is input. They handle the technical aspects, while we handle the physical.
The MK45 can be fired from inside the gun mount or remotely from a console in the Combat Information Center (CIC). According to Pike, the latest exercise, undertaken in the Gulf of Oman on January 12, was carried out from the remote start position which lets the ship fire from CIC without needing a gunner’s mate present.
Once the designated range is confirmed clear of vessels, the ship can begin to test fire gun mount. Pike explained that the exercise’s firing portion consists of five rounds, the first two rounds are for spotting and are followed by a three-round salvo.
Gridley is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.
Image: US Navy