The lead ship of the US Navy’s three Zumwalt-class destroyers, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), recently completed its first ever live fire test of the MK 57 vertical launching system with a Standard Missile (SM-2).
The test took place on the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, Point Mugu, on October 13.
As the first-in-class ship, USS Zumwalt demonstrated its capability to detect, track and engage an anti-ship cruise missile threat with an SM-2. The structural test fire assessed the material readiness of the ship against shock and vibration of the weapon firing, as well as measure any hazards or degradations as a result of firing live ordnance.
“Today’s successful test not only demonstrates the ship’s capability to fire missiles and conduct self-defense, it is also a significant step toward more advanced combat system testing and operations for our navy’s most technically innovative warship,” said Capt. Matt Schroeder, DDG 1000 program manager. “The USS Zumwalt crew and Surface Development Squadron One are working hand-in-hand with the acquisition community to advance this ship’s operational capability.”
While the ship was delivered to the navy in 2016, it fired its first VLS missile only now because it completed combat systems activation in April 2020. Zumwalt-class ships are delivered through a two-phase approach in which combat systems are installed and activated after hull, mechanical and electrical delivery.
“Today’s firing event is a critical milestone in the maturation of this incredible ship class and represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and partnership of Zumwalt’s talented crew and the engineers, designers, and programmers helping us to bring her capabilities to the Fleet,” said Capt. Gary Cave, Zumwalt’s commanding officer.
The ship, homeported in San Diego, will continue tactical training and operational scenario engagement in support of attaining initial operational capability in 2021, the navy has said.