Another Success for Aegis BMD

USS Lake Erie destroys complex, separating short-range target during Aegis BMD’s second consecutive test of the year


USS-Lake-Erie-May-2013-FTM-19-460 The USS Lake Erie successfully launched and guided an SM-3 Block IB missile to destroy a complex, separating short-range missile target during a Missile Defense Agency test on May 15. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

During a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test on May 15, the crew of the USS Lake Erie used the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system developed by Lockheed Martin to successfully launch and guide an SM-3 Block IB missile to destroy a complex, separating short-range missile target.

“With every flight test, we’ve witnessed the ability of the sailors, the ship and the system to engage increasingly complex ballistic missile threats,” said Nick Bucci, Lockheed Martin’s director of BMD development programs. “Each success reaffirms Aegis as the foundation of a variety of systems that can combat the world’s sophisticated enemy threats.”

Known as Flight Test Mission 19 and designed to replicate a real threat, the test demonstrated Aegis BMD’s ability to distinguish a ballistic missile target from multiple separating objects. This marked the 10th time in four years Lake Erie successfully performed at-sea against cruise and ballistic missile targets using Aegis BMD.

The test also marked an important milestone for the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe by demonstrating its Phase 2 capabilities planned for deployment in 2015 at a land-based Aegis Ashore site in Romania and aboard Navy ships to protect U.S. interests on the continent.

Certified in March of 2011 and deployed on the USS Shiloh homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, this latest version of Aegis BMD, known as 4.0.1, can defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threat through its improved target identification capabilities. The next planned BMD evolution will combine air defense and missile defense functionality into a single integrated air and missile defense system.

Aegis BMD is an integral part of the nation’s overall Ballistic Missile Defense System. Currently, there are 31 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 27 in the U.S. Navy and four in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force – with the number expected to increase to 36 by 2014.

Posted on May 16, 2013