For the second time in less than six months, the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis Weapon System successfully guided a Standard Missile (SM)-3 to a ballistic missile target hit today.
The Aegis Combat System aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and range sensors confirmed a direct hit of the target over the Pacific Ocean. The success of this test moves the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy closer to a proven sea-based ballistic missile defense capability.
"This test was a critical step in the United States' ongoing sea-based ballistic missile defense efforts," said Fred Moosally, president of the Surface Systems unit of Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS). "Consecutive intercepts demonstrate that the reliable surveillance capability of the Aegis Weapon System and the SPY-1 radar, proven assets in the U.S. Navy's fleet, can certainly play an even larger role once the requirements of a sea-based ballistic missile defense system are in place."
The Aegis Weapon System includes the SPY-1 radar, the Navy's most advanced computer-controlled radar system. When paired with the Lockheed Martin-developed MK 41 Vertical Launch System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare. The system can simultaneously attack multiple incoming aircraft, missiles, submarines, torpedoes and attacking ships while automatically implementing defenses to protect the fleet. Aegis is capable of countering the existing and emerging threats to a naval battle group, as well as striking inland targets.
The SPY-1 radar, available worldwide in various configurations, provides U.S. and allied nations with the world's most advanced naval surveillance, anti-air warfare and missile defense capabilities. The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 66 Aegis-class ships on station around the globe, and 34 more ships are planned. Since its introduction to the U.S. Navy more than 20 years ago, Aegis has been approved for sale to Japan, Spain, and Norway.
Today's test, Flight Mission (FM)-3 is part of the Aegis Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile Intercept (ALI) Project, a stepping-stone toward the Navy's goal of a sea-based midcourse ballistic missile defense capability for Aegis ships. The ALI Project includes modifications to the Aegis Weapon System's phased array radar (SPY-1), Weapons Control System, Command and Decision System, Vertical Launching System and the SM-3. The sea-based midcourse defense system is an element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and is intended to provide regional protection against medium- to long-range ballistic missiles for joint forces, seaports, inland airfields, vital political and military assets and population centers.
The test was sponsored by the Missile Defense Agency. FM-3 was the fifth in a series of planned flight tests that progressively show the Navy's Aegis Combat System's ability to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3.
Lockheed Martin NE&SS provides surface ship and submarine weapon systems, antisubmarine warfare and ocean surveillance systems, missile launching systems, radar and sensor systems, ship systems integration services and other advanced systems and services to customers worldwide. NE&SS is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation
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