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US Navy USS Antietam Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser conducts Tomahawk cruise missile strike scenario.

| 2020

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on September 20, 2020, the U.S. Navy ship USS Antietam (CG 54) Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser conducted a Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile (TLAM) strike scenario, September 20, 2020, targeting the Farallon de Medinilla range, located on an uninhabited 200-acre island off the coast of Guam as part of Valliant Shield 2020.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) moves in formation during exercise Valiant Shield 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

Valiant Shield is a U.S. only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among U.S. forces. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.

This exercise demonstrates the Antietam’s ability to track, target, and engage threats to protect peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

Valiant Shield is a series of military exercises that promote integration among the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Each successive exercise builds on lessons learned from the previous training to enhance complementary capabilities and develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures. This training increases the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a joint force, ready to respond to any contingency.

This is the eighth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006. This year’s participants include USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW 5), USS Chicago (SSN 721), USS America (LHA 6), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and multiple surface ships -- approximately 100 aircraft and an estimated 11,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. Valiant Shield focuses on integration of training in a blue-water environment. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. 

The USS Antietam (CG 54) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser in service with the United States Navy. was laid down by the Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 15 November 1984, launched on 14 February 1986, and commissioned on 6 June 1987 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Ticonderoga class is a series of guided-missile cruisers used by the United States Navy, that was first ordered and authorized in the 1978 fiscal year. The Ticonderoga-class cruiser's design was based on that of the Spruance-class destroyer. The Ticonderoga class introduced a new generation of guided missile warships based on the Aegis phased array radar that is capable of simultaneously scanning for threats, tracking targets, and guiding missiles to interception.

The USS Antietam is armed with  2 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems containing 122 × mix of RIM-66M-5 Standard SM-2MR Block IIIB, RIM-156A SM-2ER Block IV, RIM-161 SM-3, RIM-162A ESSM, RIM-174A Standard ERAM surface-to-air missiles, BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles or RUM-139A VL-ASROC anti-submarine missiles. She is also armed with RGM-84 Harpoon missiles, two  5 in (127 mm)/62 caliber Mark 45 Mod 4 lightweight gun, two 25 mm (0.98 in) Mk 38 gun, tow to four .50 in (12.7 mm) cal. machine gun, two Phalanx CIWS Block 1B and two Mk 32 12.75 in (324 mm) triple torpedo tubes. 

The Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile in service with the surface ships and submarines of the US and the UK’s Royal Navy. Originally produced by General Dynamics, Tomahawk is currently manufactured by Raytheon. The missile can be fitted with a nuclear or conventional warhead of 450 kg high explosive or submunition dispenser with BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb or PBXN. It has an operational range from 1,300 to 2,500 km. 

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