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USS Gabrielle Giffords launches Naval Strike Missile in operational test

The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile earlier this month as part of shipboard operational testing and evaluation. Photo by U.S. Navy<br>
The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile earlier this month as part of shipboard operational testing and evaluation. Photo by U.S. Navy

March 30 (UPI) -- The USS Gabrielle Giffords successfully launched the Naval Strike Missile earlier this month, the Navy announced on Tuesday.

According to a Navy press release, the Giffords launched the missile as part of shipboard operational testing and evaluation March 19.

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"The recent missile launches were a great accomplishment for Gabrielle Giffords and the LCS community," Cmdr. Michael Piano, commanding officer of Gabrielle Giffords' Blue Crew, said in the release.

"I am especially proud of Gabrielle Giffords Blue and grateful for Surface Division Eleven's support to score this win for our Navy," Piano said.

The Giffords, an Independence-class littoral combat ship, first launched a Naval Strike Missile in 2019.

According to the Navy, this month's test shows value for long-range anti-ship cruise missiles aboard littoral combat ships, which are relatively small vessels built for shallow-water maneuvering.

In January, the Navy announced plans to integrate anti-ship missiles -- one of which is the Naval Strike Missile -- on a variety of vessels, including Independence-class LCS like the Giffords and amphibious docking ships.

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