The U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) completed a live-fire exercise of its Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and NATO Sea Sparrow Missile against drone targets while underway Nov. 7.
The ship, part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, (ARG) was underway conducting a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). COMPTUEX is an intensive, month-long exercise designed to fully integrate a carrier strike group or ARG-MEU as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force. It thoroughly tests the abilities of the Sailors and Marines assigned to the ARG and MEU to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea.
“It’s been a challenging, yet rewarding process being able to conduct this evolution from start to finish,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Tatyana Latimore. “This is one of the few times where we get to work with missile systems to fulfill their purpose.”
During the live-fire exercise, the ship detected, tracked and conducted engagements using its RAM and NATO Sea Sparrow Missile against targets in order to validate the capabilities of the ship’s weapons systems as well as demonstrate warfighting readiness with the watchstanders on board.
“It’s a chance to validate the operations of our weapons systems, and the training that we’ve undergone over the last several months,” said Lt. Zach Feenstra, Bataan’s combat systems officer. “This exercise is designed to test our air defense systems’ ability to find, track and engage a target, as well as challenge our watchstanders’ ability to defend the ship against multiple threats.”
Both the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill conducted similar training events in August, following the ARG’s completion of its Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training exercise.
“Live Fire with a Purpose is an integral part of a ship’s training cycle,” said Capt. Darren Nelson, chief of staff for Expeditionary Strike Group 2. “This gives the ship a live look at a target on a missile profile and allows the commanding officer to validate their battle orders, watchstander proficiency, and weapons systems. Successful completion of this event gives the commanding officer the confidence that they can defend their ship all while increasing the lethality of the ship and the ARG.”
Expeditionary Strike Group 2 provides an East Coast amphibious ready force that is manned, trained and equipped to fulfill amphibious requirements and to provide military commanders with a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, forward naval presence and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.