US Navy SM-6 Missile Sinks Frigate Target Ship During Massive Pacific Exercise

U.S Destroyer firing an anti-submarine missile

The U.S. Navy concluded its latest Valiant Shield exercise last week by sinking the decommissioned frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG-48) using a Standard Missile 6, or SM-6, in a demonstration of what the service term “coordinated multi-domain, multi-axis, long-range maritime strikes.” The sinking exercise (SINKEX) not only served as the finale for the two-week series of maneuvers but also shed light on the SM-6’s still-evolving offensive anti-surface warfare capability, which it adds to an already impressive roster of applications.

As well as its core ability to shoot down air-breathing threats like aircraft and cruise missiles, the SM-6 can be used to swat incoming ballistic missiles in the terminal phases of flight, target certain hypersonic weapons in some instances, and even has a serious land-attack capability.

In the demonstration of the SM-6’s anti-ship role on June 17, an example of the missile was launched from the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65) and targeted the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate USS Vandegrift.

It wasn’t only an SM-6 that slammed into the Vandegrift. The service describes “a sequence of live-fire events, demonstrating the joint forces’ capability to deliver fires and effects in the maritime environment.” The same statement also asserts that “new weapons were tested, along with communications technologies, to integrate cyber effects to conduct long-range, precise, lethal, and overwhelming multi-domain strikes against a surface target at sea.”
Read more at The Drive
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