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.

This test 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 and countermeasures.

The test, 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 environment.

The MDA and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

Ultimately 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).

To date, eight Aegis destroyers have been upgraded with the LRS&T capability and two Aegis cruisers have been outfitted with the emergency engagement and LRS&T capability.

The Aegis 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.

The Aegis 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.

It is 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 Moorestown project

The 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.-

AEGIS website


Posted on Sun, Sep. 26, 2004

Aegis upgrade's new mission

The modified missile defense system is a Pentagon priority - criticized as rushed.

By Harold Brubaker

Inquirer Staff Writer

For Lockheed Martin's Aegis weapons system, the past and the future collide this week.

On Thursday, the Navy plans to decommission the USS Ticonderoga, the first ship outfitted with the electronic radar- and missile-control system in the early 1980s.

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 "Star Wars."

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 rogue nations.

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 from it.

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 scale.

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.

Modifying Aegis

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

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 programs.

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 steam."

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 obsolete.

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 U.S. soldiers.

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 Gulf.

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 ballistic-missile-defense program.

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

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 Lockheed Martin

For 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.

In 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 military contractors.

Lockheed 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)