Critical to European Missile Defense, Aegis BMD Achieves another Milestone

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced in May that the alliance now has interim ballistic missile defense capability to protect Europe and its citizens.

 “Our system will link together missile defense assets from different allies – satellites, ships, radars and interceptors,” Rasmussen said. “It will allow us to defend against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Central to NATO’s plan is the United States’ Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense, which relies heavily on the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the second generation Aegis BMD, known as Aegis BMD 4.0.1, achieved an important milestone for the Phased Adaptive Approach on June 26 when it successfully detected, tracked and engaged a medium range ballistic missile target, proving its air defense capabilities.

“This is the second of three Aegis BMD tests this year, all which will evaluate varying capabilities and functionalities of the system within increasingly more challenging scenarios,” said Nick Bucci, director of BMD development programs for Lockheed Martin. “The successful test demonstrates the continuing evolution of the Aegis BMD system and reaffirms its role as the cornerstone of national and international forward-deployed missile defense efforts.”

The four-part Phased Adaptive Approach initially calls for deploying Aegis-equipped ships in the Mediterranean Sea to address regional ballistic missile threats to Europe. Phase Two will use the same sea-based Aegis BMD capabilities in a ground-based Aegis Ashore configuration by 2015. Phases Three and Four will employ SM-3 missiles currently in development to counter future threats by the end of the decade.

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