Aegis BMD Records another First

Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system completes two more key tests aboard the USS Lake Erie


file The USS Lake Erie successfully destroyed a short range ballistic missile target during a live-engagement exercise on May 9. This marked the first time a ship used the second generation Aegis BMD system to protect itself from an incoming threat.

Since its inception more than 40 years ago, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis weapons system has recorded a number of milestones.

The system achieved another milestone recently when the USS Lake Erie validated its anti-air warfare capability by tracking, engaging and destroying a short range ballistic missile target in a live-engagement exercise. This marked the first time a ship used the second generation Aegis BMD system to protect itself from an incoming threat and was also an important step for the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe.

“The second-generation Aegis BMD System provides enhanced discrimination, coordinated engagements and integrated kill-assessment capabilities allowing the fleet to keep pace with emerging ballistic missile threats,” said Nick Bucci, director of maritime BMD programs at Lockheed Martin. “This test continues to demonstrate the maturity of the Aegis BMD system and reaffirms its role as the cornerstone of national and international forward-deployed missile defense efforts.”

The exercise marked the sixth time in the past 28 months the Lake Erie successfully conducted at-sea test events with the second-generation system, also known as Aegis BMD 4.0.1. Certified by the Navy in March and operational on two vessels, the system enables ships to defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threats.

The second-generation system introduces the Aegis BMD signal processor to improve target identification and uses open architecture to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf technology, third party components and turn-key solutions.

The MDA and the Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the United States' Ballistic Missile Defense System. The next planned BMD evolution will combine air defense and missile defense functionality into a single integrated air and missile defense system.

Currently, there are 27 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 23 in the U.S. Navy and four in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force – and that number will increase to 36 by 2014.

Posted May 10, 2012