Land, Ho! For Aegis BMD

Aegis Ashore progresses toward 2015 deployment of Phased Adaptive Approach Phase II for European missile defense

Aegis Ashore Lockheed Martin continues to make progress on the Aegis Ashore program. At its Moorestown, NJ, facility, construction is underway of a “deck house” similar to those used on Aegis ships. The team also has concluded the combat system’s design reviews and its software configuration is complete.

In working on the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe, the United States and NATO wanted a land-based component to complement the sea-based capability provided by the U.S. Navy’s Aegis ships.

All eyes quickly focused on the proven, affordable Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system developed by Lockheed Martin as the solution.

The reasoning was straight-forward. If Aegis worked at sea and on land for testing purposes at the Combat System Engineering Development site in New Jersey and the Surface Combat System Center at Wallops Island, Va., it offered the lowest risk and most affordable option. Thus, Aegis Ashore  was born. Lockheed Martin is now moving full speed ahead to meet an aggressive schedule that calls for deployment of Aegis Ashore in Romania in 2015.

Lockheed Martin concluded Aegis Ashore’s combat system design reviews last year and its software configuration is complete. At its Moorestown, NJ, facility, a dedicated production test space addition was built in 100 days, while the building of a “deck house” similar to those used on Aegis ships should be completed by March 2013. In Hawaii, construction of a second test facility, complete with a MK 41 Vertical Launching System, will begin next spring in time for live fire testing in 2014.

“Getting all these things done on a short schedule is very impressive,” said Nick Bucci, Lockheed Martin’s director of BMD development programs.  “We’re developing the Aegis Ashore baseline in less time than any other previous system because we’re taking what we do on a ship and adapting it for a land environment with as little change as possible.”

Facilitating the system’s assembly and disassembly for use at different sites required innovative engineering. Lockheed Martin engineers took an erector set approach that included the pre-wiring and pre-piping of each block, called a Removable Equipment Unit, so each one could fit together or be taken apart quickly.

With the deployment of Aegis-equipped ships to the Mediterranean Sea, the first phase of the four-part Phased Adaptive Approach was accomplished last year.

Posted on August 22, 2012