The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin team successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target for the first time, using the second generation of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, known as Aegis BMD 4.0.1.
This second-generation system, which was certified in March, introduces the Aegis BMD signal processor to improve target identification capabilities and uses open architecture standards to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf technology.
During the test, the system successfully tracked and engaged a short-range ballistic missile target, proving its air defense capabilities. This exercise was the sixth time the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) has successfully performed during Navy and MDA at-sea test events with the second-generation Aegis BMD configuration in the past 28 months.
“The second-generation Aegis BMD System provides enhanced discrimination, coordinated engagements and integrated kill-assessment capabilities allowing the fleet to keep pace with emerging ballistic missile threats,” said Nick Bucci, director of BMD development programs at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business unit. “This test continues to demonstrate the maturity of the Aegis BMD system and reaffirms its role as the cornerstone of national and international forward-deployed missile defense efforts.”
The Aegis BMD 4.0.1 configuration, now operational on two Navy ships, enables the MDA and Navy to defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threats. The BMD signal processor is a commercial-off-the-shelf adjunct signal processor using open architecture standards. The configuration also includes an open architecture BMD computing suite that improves overall system capabilities and enables future insertion of more off-the-shelf products, third party components and turn-key solutions.
The test also marks an important milestone for the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe.
The SPY-1 radar is the central component of the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis Weapon System. It is the most widely fielded naval phased array radar in the world. The radar system provides the U.S. and allied nations with advanced surveillance, anti-air warfare and missile defense capabilities.
The next planned BMD evolution will combine air defense and missile defense functionality into a single integrated air and missile defense system.
The MDA and the Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System. Currently, a total of 27 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 23 in the U.S. Navy and four in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force – have the certified capability to engage ballistic missiles and perform long-range surveillance and tracking missions. The number of BMD ships will increase to 36 by 2014.