Navy goes ballistic for Aegis

The US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin $979,175,217 for continued development and evolution of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System.


The US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Lockheed Martin $979,175,217 for continued development and evolution of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System.



Capability improvements planned in the next phase of Aegis BMD include equipment and computer program development and incorporation of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Signal Processor (Aegis BSP) into the AN/SPY-1 radar, which as a system provides an advanced discrimination capability to defeat more complex ballistic missile threats.



Lockheed said in a statement that the Aegis BSP, which will be installed on all Aegis BMD ships beginning in 2010, is an open architecture design, allowing for quick and affordable upgrades as signal processor technology evolves.



In addition, Lockheed Martin will develop an adjunct computing suite that will house several computing devices and software components that continue Aegis BMD’s migration to open architecture. This move for Aegis BMD is in parallel alignment with the US Navy’s Aegis Open Architecture initiative to transform the (non-BMD) Aegis Weapon System to a fully open architecture system. BMD capability will be included in modernised, open architecture combat systems in Aegis cruisers and destroyers starting in 2012.



‘Our rigorous system engineering approach continues to deliver to the Navy and Missile Defense Agency a multi-mission weapon system that meets all challenges and continues to deliver critical capability to the fleet,’ commented Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business.



During at-sea tests, the Aegis BMD Weapon System has achieved eight successful missile intercepts in 10 attempts. In addition to its intercepts, Aegis BMD has successfully completed more than 15 successful ballistic missile defence system tracking tests since June 2004.



Aegis BMD went to sea with its initial operating capability in October 2004 and the latest version, Aegis BMD 3.6, was certified for tactical deployment by the US Navy and MDA in September 2006.



The MDA and the US Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the USA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Ultimately, 15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers will be outfitted with the ability to engage short to intermediate range ballistic missile threats and support other BMDS engagements using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and the SM-3 missile. Currently, six Aegis-equipped warships have the ability to engage ballistic missiles, while another 10 Aegis warships are equipped with Aegis BMD Long Range Surveillance & Track capability.