The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) successfully completed the testing of the ship’s defense capabilities during Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT), Dec. 7.
CSSQT tested Abraham Lincoln’s ability to safely and effectively operate onboard weapons systems, including the close-in weapons system (CIWS), rolling airframe missile (RAM) launchers and the Enhanced NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System (ESSM).
“CSQTT is pivotal because it certifies our weapons systems,” said Cmdr. Scott Ryan, Abraham Lincoln’s Combat Direction Center Officer. “CSQTT’s purpose is to show our ship’s self-defense system (SSDS) can protect the ship. To do that, we have to live-fire each weapons system at a target and either hit the target or get close to it, depending on the weapons system.”
Each missile launched by the ship successfully intercepted subsonic, sea-skimming drones flown to the Atlantic Ocean from Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex, Virginia.
“It’s an enormous team evolution,” said Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Andrade, a tactical actions officer (TAO) and the air defense officer for CSSQT. “The entire Combat Systems, Navigation, Operations and Weapons Departments came together and were synchronized. As the TAO for this, it was amazing to watch, and I’m proud of the team’s phenomenal performance”
In addition to the CIWS, Abraham Lincoln fired one RIM-162D Sea Sparrow missile and one RIM-116 test RAM.
“This is my second CSSQT evolution,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Tyler Greenlee. “It’s not uncommon that a lot of fire control men never fire a missile in their career. We went three for three with our missiles, so it felt really good to succeed and know that our watch team can fight for the ship.”
The Enhanced NATO Sea Sparrow missile is a semi-active missile requiring a feed from directors to locate a target. The RAM is a passive missile that uses built-in sensors to track down its target. The ship’s ENSSMS holds eight missiles per launcher, and the RAM launchers each hold 21 missiles.
Ensign Ezekiel Ramirez, Abraham Lincoln’s fire control officer said his team spent three months of hard work and preparation to be ready for the week-long CSSQT evolution and, ultimately, arm the ship with the capability to defend herself.
“We spent months training several times a week,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Matthew J. Miller, a combat systems divisional leading petty officer. “Today we showed that we are able to defend ourselves if a threat were to get past the cruisers and destroyers in our strike group.”
Testing Abraham Lincoln’s SSDS is critical to taking the ship another step closer to launch as a deployment-ready warship.
“There’s no better feeling to witness the success of this evolution,” said Ramirez. “Our team is the last line of defense, and to prove that we can do our job is the ultimate satisfaction.”
CSQTT demonstrates how Abraham Lincoln is fine-tuning her weapons systems and training personnel to enhance the mission-readiness of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12.
The components of CSG-12 embody a “team-of-teams” concept, combining advanced surface, air and systems assets to create and sustain operational capability. This enables them to prepare for and conduct global operations, have effective and lasting command and control, and demonstrate dedication and commitment to become the strongest warfighting force for the Navy and the nation.
The Abraham Lincoln CSG is comprised of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 2, associated guided-missile destroyers, flagship Abraham Lincoln, and the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jessica Paulauskas, USS Abraham Lincoln