Top Tester Tells Navy To Test Carrier, Destroyer Defenses With Real Missiles & Explosions

You’d expect the nation’s top weapons tester to be a stickler about testing. But there’s “rigorous testing” and then there’s “let’s shoot cruise missiles at you and see what happens.”

It’s not that the Navy is wimpy about testing. The service conducts “full-ship shock trials” like the USS Roosevelt test pictured above, where it sets off a huge explosion next to a ship with a test crew aboard, as in this video of the destroyer USS Winston Churchill:

via Top Tester Tells Navy To Test Carrier, Destroyer Defenses With Real Missiles & Explosions « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary.

Building a full up AMDR test ship would be terribly expensive. But there really isn’t any other way to test. Sooner or later, I suspect we’ll see a converted merchant hull with one panel of the AMDR, and a slimmed down weapon suite.




5 responses to “Top Tester Tells Navy To Test Carrier, Destroyer Defenses With Real Missiles & Explosions

  1. captainned

    CV-63 Kitty Hawk and CV-64 Constellation appear to be still afloat and available. If it’s going to be a SINKEX, let’s make it as realistic as possible. CV-63 might even be able to steam to the destination since there was some talk a couple of years ago about selling her to India.


    • Sinking the Connie seems right. I think Lex would have wanted it that way knowing that some good would come from her demise.


    • I disagree with the static sink-exs. A serious test must involve a mobile ship with a crew onboard.

      Prior to WWII, the Japanese trained in rough weather and wrote off the odd man overboards or ship grounding. They punched above their weight in combat. In that era the US Navy trained in calm tropical waters, with safety first and no urgency. The US Navy had to learn in combat how to win.


    • NaCly Dog

      Here’s a radical plan:

      Announce that a soon to be decommissioned USS Ticonderoga CG-47 class ship will be tested in one year. Then put the combat systems designers and maintainers from NAVSEASYSCOMS, SPAWARS, Naval Surface Warfare Center and Lockmart onboard as operators. Let the designers use the year’s notice and additional funding to ensure they have the best designs and equipment onboard. This personal risk encourages system improvements.

      Give the ship a full AWW loadout, including lots of chaff, but off-load all other munitions. Increase the damage control supplies. Add an E-2D to the Navy team for support.

      Sail the ship to a test range, like off Barking Sands. Then send in the Air Force for an authentic we-got-something-to-prove test. Let the Air Force use their ASuW attack profiles for B-52s, B-1s and B-2s. A bonus is for the Air Force to risk bombers inside the missile envelope of the cruiser. There are lots of variations possible here.

      Start the trial with cruise missiles with real warheads and ballistic missiles similar to the Chinese DF-21D. Can we take a static Pershing II and get it functional again?
      For full test value, start with single cruise missiles only. Then send a single ballistic missile inbound. Multiple inbound missiles lead to a short test.

      Continue until ammo exhaustion, the ship is hit, or a near miss involves damage control. A safe word would be prudent, but takes away from a full test. Collect the data. Promote and reward the survivors.

      Alternately, this could be an oncoming program, and a volunteer program. The crew can be the best of the best, or those failed to select or up to be SERBed. The Navy would then promote winners, not just those with perfect careers. This could also be used as a Perisher course for pCOs.

      Use every ship coming up for decommissioning for testing. Modify the test to the combat systems onboard. For example, do not use ballistic missiles to test the combat systems of an amphib. But cruise missiles would be a good test to the short-ranged defenses like CIWS, RAM and SeaRAM.