The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin team successfully intercepted a separating ballistic missile target with the second generation of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, Aegis BMD 4.0.1, and the Standard Missile-3 Block IB missile.
During the test known as Flight Test Mission-18, Aegis BMD 4.0.1 successfully detected, tracked and engaged the ballistic missile target in the most challenging operational environment to date, demonstrating its capabilities to engage the world’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile threats. FTM-18 marked the eighth time the USS Lake Erie and her crew have successfully performed during Navy and MDA at-sea test events against cruise and ballistic missile threats using Aegis BMD 4.0.1.
“This is the second of three Aegis BMD tests this year – all of which will evaluate enhanced capabilities and functions of the system within increasingly challenging scenarios,” said Nick Bucci, Director of BMD development programs at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business. “Today’s successful test demonstrates the continuing evolution of the Aegis BMD system and reaffirms its role as a cornerstone of global missile defense efforts.”
The test also marks an important milestone for the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to missile defense in Europe. Aegis BMD 4.0.1 and the SM-3 Block IB missile will be a shipboard configuration used in the European Theater supporting PAA Phase 2.
The Aegis BMD 4.0.1 configuration, certified in March, is operational on two Navy ships with installations underway on two more ships. Its signal processor enables the Navy to defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threats as a result of improved target identification capabilities.
The central component of the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis Combat System is the SPY-1 radar, the most widely fielded naval phased array radar in the world. The Aegis system and SPY-1 radar provide 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 28 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 24 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 is expected to increase to 36 by 2014.