Bringing Order to Chaos
MDA successfully conducts first-ever integrated live-fire test of Aegis, THAAD and PAC 3 missile defense systems
In the heat of battle, the ability to bring order to that chaos often means the difference between winning and losing, and that’s what the Missile Defense Agency was able to do during a recent complex, live-fire test featuring Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System , Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile systems.
During the first-ever test of the three systems conducted by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Oct. 24, the three systems worked together to detect, track, engage and defeat two ballistic missile targets and one cruise missile-like targets.
“Today’s success demonstrates the strides that have been made in missile defense technologies and the maturity and reliability of these systems,” said Dennis Cavin, vice president of Army and Missile Defense Programs for Lockheed Martin. “This test demonstrates the benefits of a layered, interoperable approach that can help protect the U.S. and allies from increasing security concerns around the world.”
Known as Flight Test Integrated-01, these different sensors and weapons systems were integrated through the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) system, also developed by Lockheed Martin. The C2BMC is the integrating element for the Ballistic Missile Defense System and links the various sensors and weapon systems.
Conducted at the Regan Test Site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific, the test successfully demonstrated the integration capabilities of the U.S.’s missile defense systems. During the test:
• The THAAD system detected, tracked and destroyed an Extended Long Range Air Launch Target missile.
• The Patriot system detected and tracked another short-range ballistic missile target and ripple fired two Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missiles to destroy it.
• The Aegis BMD equipped USS Fitzgerald successfully engaged a low flying cruise missile over water.
A world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin makes significant contributions to major U.S. missile defense systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.
Source: Lockheed Martin
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is the sea-based component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Aegis BMD builds upon the Aegis Weapon System, Standard Missile, Navy and joint forces’ Command, Control and Communication systems. The Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force formally found Aegis BMD to be operationally effective and suitable. The Navy embraces BMD as a core mission. In recognition of its scalability, Aegis BMD/SM-3 system is a keystone in the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe.
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System
BMD Engagement Capability:
- Defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase, ballistic missile threats with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the SM-2.
- Flight tests are conducted by Fleet standard warships, operated by fleet Sailors and Officers. Each test increases the operational realism and complexity of targets and scenarios and is witnessed by Navy and Defense Department testing evaluators.
BMD Long Range Surveillance and Track (LRS&T):
- Aegis BMD ships on Ballistic Missile Defense patrol, detect and track ballistic missiles of all ranges – including Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and report track data to the missile defense system. This capability shares tracking data to cue other missile defense sensors and provides fire control data to Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors located at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California and other elements of the BMDS including land-based firing units (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Patriot) and other Navy BMD ships.
- There are 21 Aegis BMD combatants (5 cruisers [CGs] and 16 destroyers [DDGs]) in the U.S. Navy. Of the 21 ships, 16 are assigned to the Pacific Fleet and 5 to the Atlantic Fleet. The Secretary of Defense announced earlier this year that 6 more DDGs would be BMD equipped. These additional six DDGs will be from Fleet Forces in the Atlantic. The MDA and the Navy, working together, will increase the number of BMD capable ships to 32 by end of 2013.
- Aegis BMD is the first missile defense capability produced by the MDA that has been purchased by a military ally. Japan’s four KONGO Class Destroyers have been upgraded with BMD operational capabilities.
- SM-3 Cooperative Development Program is the joint U.S.-Japan development of a 21 inch diameter variant of the SM-3 missile, designated SM-3 Block IIA, to defeat longer range ballistic missiles. Flight testing begins in 2014.
- Engagement of longer range ballistic missiles
- Improving existing early intercept capability
- Enhanced terminal capability against short and medium range ballistic missiles
- Aegis BMD Ashore
- Increased number of ships and missiles
- More maritime ally involvement
Since the first intercept test conducted in January 2002, the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System has demonstrated 21 successful intercepts in 25 at sea events, including intercepts of two targets by two interceptors during a single test. This figure does not include the successful intercept of a non-functioning satellite during Operation Burnt Frost in February 2008.
Source: Missile Defense Agency