Friday, January 20, 2012

USS Porter Completes Live-Fire Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse L. Gonzalez, Enterprise Strike Group Public Affairs

USS PORTER, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) successfully completed a live-fire exercise of its entire array of gun weapon systems while underway conducting its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Jan. 17.

Porter fired 47 blank load and powder rounds plus three illumination rounds from the MK-45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun at a moving target that was approximately four nautical miles away, said Ensign Lauren M. Chatmas, the ship's ordnance officer.

Porter also successfully fired 55 rounds from the MK-38 25mm machine gun, 300 rounds from the M2 .50 caliber machine guns, 600 rounds from the M240 machine guns and 200 rounds from the MK-15 20mm close-in weapons system (CIWS), said Chatmas.

"Each station is manned by a number of qualified individuals," said Chatmas. "For the M240 machine guns, .50 caliber machine guns and the MK-38 25mm machine gun, there is at least two Sailors per station."

According to Chatmas, most Sailors assigned to the gun mounts are gunner's mates and fire controlmen, but there are also some other qualified rates, such as sonar technician (surface). The MK-45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun typically requires four gunner's mates to man the gun control computers and other equipment, as well as a crew of Sailors in the projectile magazine to reload the weapon if necessary, said Chatmas.

"There is also a fire controlman stationed in combat at the Mk-46 Optical Sight System to visually lock on a target," said Chatmas. "We currently have six crew-served weapons mounts that have weapons on them, and more mounts that will be armed and manned while on deployment."

Live-fire training events are important to improve crew proficiency at countering smaller sized, asymmetric threats. The maneuverability of the NAVAIR remote-controlled targets and having the ship moving at 15 knots presents a more realistic and challenging training opportunity, said Cmdr. Martin F. Arriola, Porter's commanding officer.

"For the Sailors, the immediate feedback of seeing rounds impact maneuvering targets is immeasurably important and builds tremendous confidence," said Arriola.

Arriola said the importance of well-trained Sailors is critical to the successful completion of any mission. The ability to repeatedly and successfully execute tasking when the call comes is probably the most valuable outcome of any training.

"I am proud to serve with the men and women that make up "Team Porter" because they are professionals of the highest caliber who have proven time and time again that they are ready for any challenge," said Arriola.