USS Shoup, At Sea – After spending two weeks testing most of her major weapons systems in the Southern California Naval Operating Area, USS Shoup shot two Tomahawk missiles, one on each of the mornings of Aug. 27 and Aug. 28. Shot from the Pacific Missile Range off the coase of Port Hueneme, CA, the missiles were aimed at inland targets. This is the first time that Shoup has fired Tomahawk missiles and it was a huge successes for both the ship and inland testing facility. This event is part of operational test launches that directly support research, development, and potential upgrades to the Tomahawk missile.
Shoup fired two of the five missiles allotted by the Navy to be shot for annual testing purposes by surface ships. The two launches were extremely successful, demonstrating the crew’s outstanding level of proficiency. Shoup’s Strike Team consists of six Fire Controlmen and five Gunners Mates. The team earned Shoup her Cruise Missile Tactical qualification in May 2012 and has been training for these test launches ever since.
“As a team we practice countless exercises to fire Tomahawks,” said Chief Petty Officer Scott Benjamin, one of the leaders of the Strike Team. “To be chosen to participate in this test was a testament to the team’s reputation and a great opportunity for Shoup! This evolution concluded a great two weeks for Weapons Department and the ship.”
Crew members not directly involved in the shoot were able to watch the missile launch from the helicopter flight deck on the back end of the ship, while the missiles were shot from the launchers at the front of the ship. Crew members listened as the salvo warning alarm signaled the imminent shoot then saw the missile rise into the air above the ship amid a cloud of fire and smoke. As the missile departed, observers scrambled to take pictures. Once airborne, the missile flew into the distance leaving only a stream of white smoke in its wake.
“I’ve been in the Navy ten years and this is my first time seeing a missile shoot,” said Damage Controlman Second Class Christopher Fury, “It really puts your job in perspective. Being an engineer onboard you sometimes forget what this ship is capable of. Its great to be able to see us in action and know that every crew member contributes to the success of the ship.”
Tomahawks can be shot from vertical launchers on the front and back parts of the ship. There are several methods that the missile uses to understand its surrounding while flying toward the target, allowing it to properly follow its predetermined path to the target without incident. There are several varients of the missile with differing capabilities. Tomahawks are a vital piece in America’s Naval stratagy and national defense. Vigorous testing of several integral systems of the Tomahawk were preformed during the two day testing peroid.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how Shoup preformed this underway!,” said Cdr. Acevedo, Commanding Officer of USS Shoup during the launch debrief, “ The Tomahawk shoots went off perfectly and Shoup proved again that she is a force to be reckoned with!”