Press Release

Lockheed Martin Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System Simultaneously Engages Two Threats During Multi-Mission Test

By SpaceRef Editor
April 28, 2007
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During a test today, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System proved its multi-mission capability by simultaneously engaging two targets – a ballistic missile and an anti-ship cruise missile – in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

The test represents the Aegis system’s eighth successful ballistic missile intercept in 10 attempts, and the first intercept while simultaneously engaging an air threat. In addition to its record of intercepts, Aegis BMD has successfully supported more than 15 ballistic missile defense system tracking tests since June 2004.

In today’s test, USS Lake Erie (CG 70), a guided missile cruiser equipped with the latest U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency (MDA)-certified version of the Aegis BMD Weapon System (Aegis BMD 3.6 Weapons System), successfully detected, tracked, targeted, and guided two Standard Missiles (SM) to the targets. Aegis guided an SM-3 Block IA missile to its successful intercept of a short-range, non-separating ballistic missile target outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Aegis also guided an SM-2 Block IIIA missile successfully to a low-altitude intercept of a cruise missile target, as planned.

“Today’s test demonstrates the true flexibility and depth of capability inherent in the Aegis BMD Weapon System,” said Rear Adm. Brad Hicks, the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis BMD program director. “The simultaneous engagement highlights the flexibility and power of the SPY-1 radar and the weapon system’s capability to manage and prioritize the engagement of the two threats.”

“Our rigorous system engineering approach, founded on the fundamental principal of ‘build-a-little, test-a-little’, continues to succeed in delivering to the Navy and Missile Defense Agency incremental upgrades in multi-mission warfighting capability,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. “The Aegis system’s success in simultaneously intercepting two targets in different threat regimes is a testament to the dedication of the MDA/Navy/industry Aegis BMD team and our unwavering commitment to system engineering excellence.”

The Aegis BMD 3.6 Weapon System, including the SM-3 Block IA missile, was certified for tactical deployment by the U.S. Navy and MDA in September 2006. Aegis BMD 3.6 enhances the ballistic missile defense capabilities of the current Aegis BMD fleet and adds capability in other warfare areas – as demonstrated in today’s test. An earlier version of Aegis BMD was declared operational in October 2004.

The MDA and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Ultimately 15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers will be outfitted with the ability to engage short to intermediate range ballistic missile threats and support other BMDS engagements using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and the SM-3. Japan has purchased Aegis BMD capability for their Aegis destroyers and is a partner developing a larger, faster variant of the SM-3. Currently, seven Aegis-equipped warships have the ability to engage ballistic missiles. Another nine Aegis warships are equipped with Aegis BMD Long Range Search &Track capability.

The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier naval surface defense system and is the foundation for Aegis BMD, the primary component of the sea- based element of the United States’ BMDS. The Aegis BMD Weapon System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, the SM-3 missile and the weapon system’s command and control system. The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving cues from and providing cueing information to other BMDS elements.

The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 81 ships around the globe with more than 25 additional ships planned or under contract. In addition to the U.S., Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Japan, South Korea, Norway, Spain and Australia. Japan began installation of Aegis BMD in its Kongo-class Aegis destroyers in 2007.

Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile defense system, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). It also has considerable experience in interceptor systems, kill vehicles, battle management command, control and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and other sensors that enable signal processing and data fusion. The company makes significant contributions to nearly all major U.S. Missile Defense Systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

For additional information on Lockheed Martin Corporation, visit: http://www.lockheedmartin.com

SpaceRef staff editor.