June 27, 2014 - Destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a series of five live-fire tests for the Baseline 9C Aegis Combat System during Combat Systems Ship's Qualification Trials (CSSQT) and Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) capability, June 18-20.
Over the course of three days, the crew of John Paul Jones 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.
"It's a great step forward for the surface navy and our integrated war fighting capability," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Matthew Miller. "I'm proud, really proud, to be a fire controlman, and proud to be in the Navy."
These CSSQT successes are attributed to the hard work and dedication of each and every member of the John Paul Jones crew. The long road to these missile firings started in the BAE ship repair facility in San Diego during 2012 when the ship started combat systems modernization as part of the destroyer modernization program.
Over the course of a year, John Paul Jones received the latest commercial off-the-shelf computing infrastructure, SPY-1D transmitter upgrades, and a multi-mission signal processor which comprises the Aegis Baseline 9C suite.
Since then, the crew has worked diligently to ensure that the systems are not only operational, but that they will operate effectively for future ships.
"It is my honor to serve on such a fine warship and be able to sail with the men and women who tested and demonstrated this amazing capability," said Cmdr. Andrew Thomson, the ship's commanding officer. "From the concept development phase, through design, build, installation, and test many hard working Americans came together to field this capability. I consider myself lucky to be part of that amazing team."
Thomson said that with these tests, the crew of John Paul Jones has proven that they are 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.
According to Thomson, CSSQT is just the beginning. 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.