Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Halsey Fires Tomahawk Missile

By Ensign Chris Peters, USS Halsey Public Affairs

USS Halsey (DDG 97) successfully fired a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile off the coast of Southern California, Sept. 12.

The shot was an Operational Test Launch (OTL) to exercise the new capabilities and flexibility of the latest versions of the Tomahawk Missile and Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System. Halsey demonstrated the ability of a Block IV Tomahawk to be retargeted while in flight.

The OTL was the first conducted by a destroyer with the baseline 7.1 AEGIS combat systems suite and the baseline VII Vertical Launching System, making Halsey the newest and most advanced ship to shoot the Navy’s signature land-attack missile.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Bianca Garcia, who launched the cruise missile. “We’ve been working together for over three years. To finally have a chance to shoot a missile and do what we’ve been training for meant a lot to all of us.”

Chief Fire Controlman Matt Robbins indicated the test firing was a feat of tremendous coordination, requiring months of specific planning.

“It was amazing to watch the whole crew come together to make this shot happen,” Robbins said. “In the end, it went off without a hitch.”

As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. For safety purposes, the Tomahawk could have been guided by commands from safety chase aircraft and safe landing zones were planned along the entire flight path.

“The support team from Port Hueneme, Point Mugu and China Lake was awesome,” said Halsey’s Engagement Control Officer Lt. j.g. Nicole “Nic” Bunchman, referring to the numerous organizations involved in the shot.

Ensign Tony Schweiss, Halsey’s strike officer, said, “The day after we observed the anniversary of 9/11, Halsey demonstrated its ability to carry out a critical mission in support of America’s defense.”

Halsey is homeported in San Diego and assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7.