Aegis Builds on Success One Block at a Time

U.S. Navy certifies Lockheed Martin’s latest Aegis Combat Systems on two of its newest Arleigh Burke destroyers

file The USS Gravely, above, and the USS Jason Dunham recently became the two latest certified Aegis ships after they passed Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

The Defense Science Board recently recommended utilizing block development for major weapon systems. In its report on “Enhancing the Adaptability of U.S. Military Forces” issued in January, the board urged “rapidly fielding 60- to 80-percent solutions and then subsequently enhancing capability."

To see how effective such a strategy can be, look no further than Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System.

Initially developed more than 40 years ago to meet the Navy’s anti-ship missile needs, Aegis has evolved through 15 technological upgrades to become the basis for the United States’ approach to global missile defense.

Today, 95 U.S. Navy ships are equipped with the Aegis Combat Systems, including two of its newest destroyers. The Aegis systems aboard the USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) recently successfully completed Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials, which certified their systems as fully operational.

During the trials, the ships' Aegis Combat Systems were evaluated for combat-readiness through comprehensive surface, subsurface and anti-air warfare exercises.  These included manned raids and electronic attack scenarios, as well as thorough testing of the systems' tactical data link and air defense capabilities.

"The Aegis systems installed on these two ships represent continued improvements to what is a very agile and capable Aegis system,” said Carmen Valentino, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Future Surface Combat systems.

The Aegis Weapon System includes the SPY-1 radar, the Navy's most advanced radar system. When paired with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, it can deliver missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare.

The USS Gravely and USS Jason Dunham are both Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers.