Aegis BMD Records another Hit

During recent test, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis system successfully destroys an intermediate range ballistic missile using data from a remote system sensor for first time

 

file During an April 14 test, the USS O’Kane successfully tracked and engaged an intermediate range ballistic missile, marking another important first for the Aegis BMD system. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

While it will never rival Run-DMC, R.E.M or OAR at the top of the Billboard charts, Aegis BMD recently recorded a number one hit of its own.

Lockheed Martin’s Aegis BMD system, officially called Ballistic Missile Defense, successfully tracked and engaged an intermediate range ballistic missile using data from a remote system sensor during an April 14 test off the Hawaiian coast.

Conducted by the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin, the test aboard the USS O’Kane marked Aegis BMD’s first engagement against an intermediate range (2,000 to 3,500 miles) ballistic missile. It also used its launch-on-remote capability to detect a threat as early in flight as possible for the first time.

The Aegis BMD system fired a Standard Missile using real-time information from a remote sensor prior to the shipboard SPY-1 radar acquiring the inbound ballistic missile.

In an April 7 Reuters article, Riki Ellison, chairman of the non-profit, non-partisan Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, called the test “tremendously important” to the United States’ Phased Adaptive Approach for European missile defense.

“The Lockheed Martin-led team has evolved Aegis from an anti-ship missile system to the basis for the U.S. approach to global missile defense,” said Lisa Callahan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of maritime ballistic missile defense programs. “With this test, Aegis BMD proves that it can expand the battlespace and enable customers to track and destroy ballistic missile threats earlier in their trajectory than ever before.”

For this exercise, the O’Kane employed the first generation Aegis BMD configuration. Certified by the Navy in 2008, this configuration enables ships to defend against short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight. Since 2008, this configuration has added capabilities to enhance the system through upgrades known as Advanced Capability Builds.

There are 25 Aegis BMD-equipped ships currently deployed – 21 U.S. Navy ships and four Japanese destroyers. Three additional ships are planned to become BMD-capable this year.

To view video footage from the April 14 Aegis BMD test that successfully tracked and engaged an intermediate range ballistic missile for the first time using data from a remote system sensor, click on MDA Flight Test Video.