Two of four forward deployed U.S. Navy destroyers used live missiles from their new SeaRAM close-in weapons systems to intercept drones that mimicked anti-ship cruise missiles.
On March 30, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Ross (DDG 71) took turns intercepting missiles in the Gulf of Cadiz on Spain’s southwestern coast.
The two destroyers joined USS Porter and USS Carney as the SeaRAM-capable ships. Porter and Carney previously conducted successful live-fire SeaRAM missile exercises on March 2016, and July 2016, respectively.
As part of the U.S. Navy’s “Speed to Fleet” program, the SeaRAM self-defense missile system was rapidly fielded to the four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that are forward deployed to Rota, Spain. In combination with the ships’ Aegis weapons system, the SeaRAM system provides enhanced point defense for these ships by combining components of the Phalanx close-in weapon system with the capabilities of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM).
All four ships received this upgrade in less than two years, improving their existing capability to counter modern anti-ship cruise missiles.
“This game-changing technology continues to ensure our ability for these multi-mission ships to steam into harm’s way as required—anywhere in this theater—in support of U.S. national interests, and in support of our allies and partners,” said Capt. Tate Westbrook, Commander, Task Force 65, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 60. “These ships patrol throughout this theater with an array of the most-capable weapons in the world; we put the concept of ‘distributed lethality’ to work in this pivotal region every day.”