US Navy destroyer conducts longest ever surface-air engagement with new SM-6 missiles

During the underway period, John Paul Jones also conducted its first ballistic missile tracking exercise while simultaneously tracking two supersonic and two subsonic missile targets. This event fully demonstrated the capabilities of Aegis Baseline 9C and of John Paul Jones as the first Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) destroyer

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The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) launches a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) during a live-fire test of the ship's aegis weapons system. Over the course of three days, the crew of John Paul Jones successfully engaged six targets, firing a total of five missiles that included four SM-6 models and one Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) model. Photo: US Navy
The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) launches a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) during a live-fire test of the ship’s aegis weapons system. Over the course of three days, the crew of John Paul Jones successfully engaged six targets, firing a total of five missiles that included four SM-6 models and one Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) model. Photo: US Navy

Over the course of three days June 18-20, the crew of Guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully engaged six targets off the coast of Southern California, firing a total of five missiles that included four Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) missiles and one Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) missile. One of these exercises, designated as NIFC-CA AS-02A, resulted in the longest surface-to-air engagement in naval history.

During the underway period, John Paul Jones also conducted its first ballistic missile tracking exercise while simultaneously tracking two supersonic and two subsonic missile targets. This event fully demonstrated the capabilities of Aegis Baseline 9C and of John Paul Jones as the first Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) destroyer.

DDG 53 is now ready to assume the role as the Navy’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense test ship, following a change of homeport to Pearl Harbor later this summer

The live-fire tests was part of the Baseline 9C Aegis Combat System during Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials (CSSQT) and Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) capability, preparing the missile destroyer for its new role as missile defense test ship.

Since 2012 the vessel went through combat systems modernization the BAE ship repair facility in San Diego, as part of the destroyer modernization program. Over the course of a year, John Paul Jones received new computing infrastructure, SPY-1D transmitter upgrades, and a multi-mission signal processor which comprises the Aegis Baseline 9C suite.

According to Cmdr. Andrew Thomson, the ship’s commanding officer, USS John Paul Jones is now ready to assume the role as the Navy’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense test ship, following a change of homeport to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii later this summer. In the coming years, John Paul Jones is expected to test newer and more advanced systems that will be used to defend the nation and U.S. and allied forces overseas.

Guided missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DG 53) and USS Preble (DDG 88) moored in Portland for the 99th Rose Festival. The John Paul Jones, originally based in San Diego will now deploy to Hawaii to become the Navy's newest missile defense test ship. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Bruce McVicar.
Guided missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DG 53) and USS Preble (DDG 88) moored in Portland for the 99th Rose Festival. The John Paul Jones, originally based in San Diego will now deploy to Hawaii to become the Navy’s newest missile defense test ship. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Bruce McVicar.