Aegis Evolution Continues

Newly certified Aegis BMD version improves target identification of more sophisticated ballistic missile threats



Continuing the Aegis Combat System’s evolution, the Navy recently certified the latest version of Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, currently installed on the cruiser USS Shiloh, above.

The constant evolution of the Aegis Combat System continues to transform the U.S. Navy’s role in protecting the nation.

The Navy recently certified the latest evolution of Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, currently installed on the cruiser USS Shiloh. Initially deployed as an anti-ship missile defense system that ultimately revolutionized surface warfare operations, Aegis has grown to become an integral component of the country’s missile defense system on land and sea.

"This milestone represents the continuing evolution of Aegis combat system capabilities," said Nick Bucci, director of Lockheed Martin’s Aegis BMD development programs. “The upgrade continues the Aegis mantra of ‘build a little, test a little, learn a lot’ and is the important first step toward a fully open combat system architecture.”

This latest configuration, known as Aegis BMD 4.0.1, enables the Navy and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to defeat longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missile threats. This second-generation system introduces the Aegis BMD signal processor to improve target identification capabilities and to enhance tracking data. It uses open architecture standards to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf technology.

The Navy’s 22 Aegis BMD-equipped ships provide surveillance and tracking of intercontinental ballistic missiles and work with other BMD system elements to provide advanced warning for the defense of the nation, deployed U.S. forces and allies. The Navy plans to modify 12 additional ships to perform ballistic missile defense over the next three years.

Aegis is also a central element of the planned Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe. Initially, the four-pronged approach calls for deploying Aegis BMD-equipped ships in the Mediterranean Sea to counter regional ballistic missile threats. Phase Two will use the same proven sea-based Aegis BMD capabilities in a ground-based Aegis Ashore configuration by 2015. By the end of the decade, the final two phases will employ SM-3 variants currently in development against future threats.

Posted April 18, 2012