By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Wyatt L. Anthony USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), at sea (May 20, 2014) – The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt’s (CVN 71) close-in weapons system (CIWS) successfully tracked and fired upon a mobile aerial target during a Combat System Ship Qualification Trial (CSSQT) air-towed drone unit (TDU) gun exercise (GUNEX), May 20.
TR primarily uses CIWS, a radar-guided 20 mm six-barreled M61 Vulcan Gatling gun, for detecting and destroying missiles and enemy aircraft at short range.
“The CIWS is Theodore Roosevelt’s last line of defense against incoming anti-ship missiles,” said Chief Fire Controlman Timothy Butler, TR’s Combat Systems Department’s CS-7 division CIWS leading chief petty officer.
During the GUNEX, a Learjet towed a TDU to simulate the profile of an incoming missile to give CIWS operators some practice at using and testing the equipment’s capabilities.
On the previous day, the ship tracked and fired upon a mobile target on the surface of the sea.
“We perform the TDU GUNEX to test the CIWS’ capability to detect, track, engage and evaluate an inbound threat,” said Butler.
The CIWS tracked and fired upon a TDU approaching TR at faster than 250 knots.
“The typical CIWS detect-to-engage sequence lasts for a few minutes,” said Butler. “The final portion is the track-and-engagement sequence, which lasts seven to 20 seconds depending on the target profile.”
During GUNEXs, fire controlmen use local and remote control stations to operate CIWS and shoot down a target.
“Today’s events went very well. Our operators received vital training and were able to show the ship what the CIWS is capable of,” said Butler.