The Aegis destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) hasn’t been commissioned yet, but last week did get a chance to try out her weapons systems in the builder’s Bravo trials.
Trails check the ship’s features and identify areas that need to be addressed before final acceptance by the Navy and are a test drive of sorts.
A very expensive test drive– in this case of a 9,217-ton guided missile destroyer capable of making in excess of 31-knots and sinking enemy surface ships and submarines while swatting aircraft and ballistic missiles out of the sky and delivering the occasional Tomahawk cruise missile to Johnny Jihad’s kitchen.
During three days at sea, the shipbuilder’s test and trial personnel were able to fire one SM-2 missile each from the ship’s forward and after MK 41 vertical launch systems, as well as rip off a few rounds from her 5-inch gun and pop some test launches through her Mk 36 SRBOC Chaff system.
Finn is named after Medal of Honor recipient John William Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay who, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, grabbed a .50 caliber machine gun and fired at at enemy planes for two hours straight, remaining at his gun even though suffering 21 wounds from bullets and shrapnel.
In a 2009 interview, Finn downplayed his role at age 100 but still remembered the day well, saying, “They were Japanese fighter plane pilots. I can remember seeing, in some cases, I could see their faces.”