The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) successfully completed the MISSILEX exercise off the coast of Virginia. The exercise involved detecting a simulated threat and firing a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) at a remote controlled, subsonic missile drone acting as an anti-ship cruise missile.

"There have been countless hours of preparation for this exercise," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Damian Blackwell. "That's everything from scenario trainings throughout the entire year in the combat information center (CIC) to a plethora of maintenance hours to include daily operability tests, bi-weekly checks, and monthly checks to ensure that the RAM launchers are performing at their best condition."

The RAM system is scheduled to fire once prior to deployment, ensuring Iwo Jima is ready for any aerial threat it might encounter. Tracking an inbound target and ensuring it's brought down involves more than just the fire controlmen.

The Iwo Jima amphibious ready group (ARG) is deployed in support of maritime security operations and security efforts in Europe and the Middle East.