AEGIS Weapon System Tracks
Advanced, Separating Ballistic Missile Target
Kauai HI (SPX) Oct 06, 2005
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System with its prototype
Aegis BMD Signal Processor (Aegis BSP) successfully tracked an advanced
ballistic missile target.
was the second at-sea tracking event for the Aegis BSP. Lockheed Martin
develops the Aegis BMD Weapon System and serves as the Combat System
Engineering Agent for Aegis BMD.
The Aegis SPY-1D radar aboard the guided missile destroyer
USS Russell (DDG 59), augmented by the BSP, provided real-time detection,
tracking and discrimination performance against a threat-representative
target with a separating re-entry vehicle
which took place off the coast of Hawaii, was part
of the Critical Measurements and Counter-Measurements Program. The program is
an integral part of the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA's)
test process and provides participants with the ability to reduce technical
risk by testing against stressing, complex target scenarios in a controlled
and the U.S. Navy are
jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System
15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers will be outfitted with the
capability to conduct Long Range
Surveillance and Tracking (LRS&T) and engagement of short and medium
range ballistic missile threats using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and its
Standard Missile-3 (SM-3).
eight Aegis destroyers have been upgraded with the LRS&T capability and
two Aegis cruisers have been outfitted with the emergency engagement and
Weapon System is the world's premier naval surface defense system and is the
foundation for Aegis BMD, the primary component of the sea-based element of
the United States' BMDS.
BMD Weapon System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical
Launching System and the SM-3 missile with its own
command and control system.
capable of simultaneously defending against multiple advanced air, surface, subsurface and ballistic missile threats.
The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, providing cueing
information to other BMDS elements.
6/22/05 Phila Inquirer
$40 million OKd for Lockheed's
U.S. House of
Representatives approved $40 million Monday in research-and-development
funding for technology being developed at Lockheed Martin's Moorestown facility.
Yesterday, Rep. James Saxton (R., N.J.) announced the additional $27 million
in R&D funding for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Signal Processor
and $13 million for the Advanced Radar Technology Integrated System Testbed. The funding is part of the 2006 defense
appropriations bill, which passed the House, 398-19. The work on both is
being done at Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, a division of
the company's Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Surface Systems
unit in Moorestown and is
part of the U.S. Navy's
efforts to modernize its fleet.-
Posted on Sun, Sep. 26, 2004
upgrade's new mission
The modified missile defense system is a Pentagon priority - criticized as
By Harold Brubaker
Inquirer Staff Writer
For Lockheed Martin's Aegis weapons system, the past and the future collide
On Thursday, the Navy plans to decommission the USS Ticonderoga, the first
ship outfitted with the electronic radar- and missile-control system in the
About the same time, a Navy Aegis destroyer will move into position in the Sea of
Japan as part of a rudimentary ballistic-missile-defense
system. Using a modified Aegis system, the ship will maintain surveillance
for missile attacks and send data to land-based interceptors in Alaska.
Aegis plays a crucial role in ballistic-missile defense, which is among the
Pentagon's top priorities, with $10 billion in the budget for the coming
fiscal year. The presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry has said he would
rein in spending on the program, which has cost more than $110 billion since
1984, under President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed
Critics of the current version say the Bush administration is overselling
something that has little credibility because too many pieces are missing and
because it has not passed realistic tests.
Aegis is battle-tested and adaptable. The technology is rooted in the late
1960s, when the Navy was geared toward open-sea battles with the Soviet
Union, as opposed to surprise missile attacks from
The deployment of Aegis destroyers to detect and track short- and medium-range
missiles is a boon for Lockheed Martin's Burlington County
operation, which started in 1953 as part of RCA Corp. and now employs 4,500.
Aegis has been the driving force there for 35 years.
Thousands of engineers, technicians and factory workers at the Moorestown
facility - conspicuous because of its shiplike
training center visible to drivers on Interstate 295 - have made a living
Roughly 2,800 now work on the program there for Lockheed Martin, which is the
nation's biggest defense contractor, with $21.9 billion in prime contract
awards during fiscal 2003. The company does not provide detailed information
on the financial impact of Aegis or military products.
From its initial focus on air attacks, Aegis has evolved through seven major
upgrades into a multi-mission system that can simultaneously track hundreds
of targets while defending against aircraft, low-flying supersonic missiles,
torpedoes and attacking ships. And now, since the United
States' recent abandonment of a 1972
treaty, ballistic missiles.
"Everybody knew we had an amazing product," said Jack Grdinich, director of operations in Moorestown. He
started there in 1980 as a test technician and has spent most of his career
working on Aegis.
But the U.S. Navy's
nearly $85 billion Aegis shipbuilding program is nearing its end, forcing Moorestown to
rely on a broader base of products, none of which is likely to be on the same
Failure two years ago to win a prime contractor role in the Navy's
next-generation destroyer was a major setback. Subsequently, Moorestown
received a subcontract to supply the large surveillance and detection radar
for the new destroyer and is playing a significant systems-integration role
for the winner, Raytheon Co., of Waltham, Mass.
New applications for Aegis-equipped ships, such as ballistic-missile defense,
are crucial to sustaining the workforce at one of South
Jersey's largest private-sector employers.
The $812 million contract Lockheed Martin received last October from the
Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency to modify some of the Navy's
existing 69 Aegis ships for ballistic-missile defense was equivalent in value
to the cost of 13 new Aegis systems.
Yet, as the Bush administration prepares to declare a ballistic-missile-defense
system active and ready for further testing, critics of the program say the
Pentagon has oversold it.
"It's a little bit like testing a new military aircraft without the
wings, tail and landing gear," said Philip E. Coyle, a former assistant
secretary of defense, who is now a senior adviser at the Center for Defense
Information, an independent research group in Washington.
"That's not the fault of Aegis," which can be effective against
shorter-range ballistic missiles, Coyle said. "Too many other important
pieces are missing." They include a powerful
radar that Raytheon is building to float on a giant oil platform off the
coast of Alaska.
A Lockheed Martin official rejected the argument that ballistic-missile
defense is being rushed. "We'll upgrade it as time allows, as opposed to
waiting 15 years and getting a perfect system out there," said Chris
Myers, vice president of Lockheed Martin's sea-based missile-defense
From the '60s to the '80s
Fifteen years is about how long it took to go from the Navy's first request
in 1967 for a new surface-missile-defense system to the first commissioning
of an Aegis ship in 1983.
The Navy was looking for an answer to a long-festering problem, said retired
Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer, who had shepherded Aegis through its development
and initial deployment in the 1970s and early 1980s.
"At the end of World War II, we had no defenses against a rocket or a
ballistic-type missile or a kamikaze-type missile, today called a cruise
missile," he said.
At the heart of Aegis is a "command and control" system. For
example, when the radar picks up a target, signals are sent back to computers
that identify the target and then decide whether to send a missile after it.
The same system - which fills 23 tractor-trailers when it leaves Moorestown -
sends directions to the missile and fires it.
Rear Adm. Charles T. Bush, who now oversees the Aegis program in his role as
the Navy's program executive officer for integrated warfare systems, said
Aegis brought unparalleled radar technology to the surface Navy.
Bush, who was the first weapons officer on the Ticonderoga, said Aegis
advanced surface warfare more than the transition "from sail to
During the 1982 Falklands War
between Argentina and Britain, an Exocet cruise missile shot from an aircraft wrecked a
British destroyer. That led some to suggest that "smart missiles,"
which zoom along 10 to 15 feet above the ocean's surface, had made ships
Aegis ended such talk, and the Navy and the defense contractor have
continually upgraded it to meet new threats.
During the mid-1980s, for example, the Navy realized that Aegis had to be
made more effective close to land, where sandstorms made it difficult for the
system to pick up targets.
The first U.S. war
against Iraq also
spurred the exploration of Aegis' capabilities against ballistic missiles.
Myers, who at the time was a Navy officer stationed on the USS Bunker Hill in
the Persian Gulf, said its Aegis radar picked up the flight of the Iraqi Scud
missile that hit a U.S. barracks in February 1991 in Saudi Arabia, killing 28
Aegis saw the Scud, Myers said, but was not designed to stop it.
Retreating from a treaty
Immediately after that attack, engineers in Moorestown began
working on Aegis modifications that would enable it to intercept short-range
missiles in theaters of war, such as the Persian
But the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty had prohibited Aegis ships from
sharing information on incoming missiles with land-based defenses. Such sharing
of information is the cornerstone of the current Aegis
Within five months from the Bush administration's pullout from that treaty in
June 2002, Lockheed Martin was at sea tracking intercontinental ballistic
missiles, said Nick Bucci, Lockheed Martin's chief
engineer for sea-based missile defense.
Since August 2003, 500 engineers at Lockheed Martin's Maritime Systems and
Sensors unit in South Jersey have
been racing - with countdown clocks literally hanging over their heads - to
meet the Defense Department's goal of having an initial system in place by
the end of this month.
Myers pointed to Aegis' record of shooting down four of five intercontinental
ballistic missiles in tests since 2002 as proof of the ability of the Aegis
ballistic-missile-defense system. A failure to hit a target in June 2003 was
caused by a problem with the intercepting missile, not the Aegis weapons
system, Myers said.
Critics said none of the tests has been under realistic conditions. "It
all remains to be seen if it will function as they hope it will," said
Wade Boese, research director at the Arms Control
Association in Washington.
The Missile Defense Agency said the next test of the Aegis system was
scheduled for early next year.
Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or
Brandywine Peace Community-Resisting
15 years, from 1978 - 1993, the Brandywine Peace Community waged a campaign
of public education and nonviolent resistance to General Electric and the GE
Aerospace weapons production plants in the Delaware valley.
April 1993, GE sold its Aerospace Division to Martin Marietta for $3.05
billion, causing Martin Marietta to double in size. In 1995, with an
announcement stating "And this is just the beginning", alongside
rows of pictured weapons, Martin Marietta merged with weapons giant,
Lockheed, to become Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons corporation.
To complete the merger, the US
government paid out at least $855 million in consolidation costs, $92 million
of which went to top management personnel. Within months, Lockheed Martin
acquired the Loral Corporation for 9.4 billion and a list of other large
Martin spent more than $9.8 million in 2001 lobbying members of Congress and
$2.7 million in campaign contributions for the 1999-2000 election cycle,
including large campaign contributions to the senior member of the House
Armed Services Committee and the self-described "pit-bull" for Star
Wars missile defense, Representative Curt Weldon (PA, R-7)