Local ships take part in live-fire missile exercise off North Carolina coast

USS Vella Gulf, courtesy U.S. Navy

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Locally based ships recently completed a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of North Carolina, the U.S. Navy says.

Navy officials say guided missile cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) as well as the guided-missile destroyers USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) and USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) completed the exercise on Feb. 4.

The exercise was designed to give the ships’ crew a chance to test their weapons systems on simulated enemy targets in a live scenario. Navy officials say this was intended to “enhance crew proficiency” of the system.

Officials say the weapons system, called AEGIS, is a centralized, automated, command-and-control system designed for detection and engagement.

“The fleet has to be ready to fight and win,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “And we have to be ready to operate in these contested environments.”