MOORESTOWN, N.J., March 18 /PRNewswire/—Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) latest Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System with flight test-proven terminal intercept capability recently received full certification from the U.S. Navy. This newest upgrade to the operational BMD system deployed today adds the capability to defeat short-range ballistic missiles as they re-enter the atmosphere in their final (terminal) stage of flight. The system is already certified to defeat longer range ballistic missiles above the atmosphere.
By June 2009, Aegis BMD version 3.6.1 will be installed in the U.S. Navy's 17 of 18 Aegis BMD-equipped ships. Beginning next summer, Aegis BMD version 3.6.1 will also be installed on three additional Aegis-equipped ships, all homeported on the east coast, being modified to perform ballistic missile defense.
Separate from the 3.6.1 installations, the Aegis BMD capable ship USS Lake Erie (CG 70), is being fitted with the next Aegis BMD spiral that includes an improved on board computing capability and the Standard Missile-3 Block IB. USS Lake Erie will begin sea trails of this next spiral in 2009.
The Navy's latest upgrade certification of the proven sea-based missile defense system followed a thorough government test and evaluation, including a June 2008 test mission with the Aegis BMD cruiser USS Lake Erie. In the test, Lake Erie's SPY-1B radar detected and tracked a ballistic missile test target, and computed a targeting solution to guide two SM-2 Block IV missiles to a successful endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) intercept.
"Build a little, test a little, learn a lot- that is the systems engineering backbone behind Aegis," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Surface/Sea-Based Missile Defense line of business. "We understand the importance of fielding ever-more-capable ballistic missile defenses, and the role Aegis' continuous development has in the Navy's and Missile Defense Agency's plans to field that capability."
The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the United States' Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Currently, a total of 20 Aegis BMD version 3.6-equipped warships - 18 in the U.S. Navy and two in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force - have the certified capability to engage ballistic missiles and perform long-range surveillance and track missions.
The Aegis Weapon System is the world's premier naval defense system and the sea-based element of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Its precision SPY-1 radar and missile system seamlessly integrate with its own command and control. Its ability to detect, track and engage targets ranging from sea-skimming cruise missiles to ballistic missiles in space is proven and unmatched. The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving track data from and providing track information to other BMDS elements.
The 88 Aegis-equipped ships currently in service around the globe have more than 950 years of at-sea operational experience and have launched more than 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations. In addition to the U.S. and Japan, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Norway, South Korea and Spain.
Source: Lockheed Martin