U.S. Navy story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Carter
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 15, 2017) – USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducted its first-ever structural test fire on the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) while underway Friday.
CIWS is a radar-guided, rapid-fire 20-millimeter rotating machine gun that functions as a defense against anti-ship missiles.
Each gun mount is equipped with a fire control assembly and a gun subsystem. The fire control assembly is made up of a radar system for surveillance and detection, and a radar system for aiming the gun while tracking the target. The subsystem utilizes a rotating machine gun that delivers approximately 75 rounds per second.
The structural test fire is an evolution conducted on the CIWS any time there is a new class of ship, according to Fire Controlman 2nd Class Joel Flanigan, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, assigned to Ford’s combat systems department.
“What we are looking for during the test is toxic gas levels inside the skin of the ship, as well as noise levels and any damage that occurs to the structure,” said Flanigan. “Once the event is completed, a full inspection is conducted where the structure is assessed for any damage that has occurred.”
In order for exercises like this to go on without a hitch, it is important for Sailors to pull together, said Fire Controlman 1st Class Shelby Edson, of Farmington, Missouri, assigned to Ford’s combat systems department.
“Teamwork is one of the most crucial elements of this evolution,” said Edson. “The ability to work together as one cohesive unit makes everything run smoothly, and without that team mentality, we would not have been able to successfully complete our objective.”
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Kyle Morgan, of Gastonia, North Carolina, assigned to Ford’s combat systems department, believes the evolution was an overwhelming success.
“After working on the mounts for the past year and waiting since August to see everything come to fruition, we finally saw the fruits of our labor,” said Morgan. “If there were ever any doubts, we silenced them today. We proved that we can execute our jobs with precision and accuracy.”