The USS John C Stennis has recorded the first successful hit and kill with the evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) during combat system ship’s qualification trials (CSSQT) off the coast of Southern California.

Stennis Tactical Action Officer Ens. Clay Cunningham said this was the first successful ESSM kill from an aircraft carrier.

Combat systems department launched the new missiles, the RIM-162 D-1, during a live-fire exercise by engaging drones inbound to Stennis.

Combat Systems Officer Cmdr. Greg Gaskey said that “The evaluation team from Port Hueneme said Stennis’s combat systems team performed at the top of the fleet.”

The ESSM missile is a developed version of the RIM-7 and is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft. The ESSM has a larger range, upgraded aerodynamics and evolved missile-guidance technology.

By Daniel Garrun.