Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is incorporating the Aegis Ballistic
Missile Defense Signal Processor (Aegis BSP) into the AN/SPY-1
radar. The company received about $979 million from the Missile
Defense Agency (MDA) to continue the development program of
the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System. Aegis
BSP provides the target discrimination capability to defeat
more complex ballistic missile threats. The Aegis BSP is scheduled
to be installed on all Aegis BMD ships beginning in 2010.
The MDA and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD
as part of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
Capability improvements planned in the next phase of Aegis BMD
include the system migration into an open architecture environment.
This approach will allow for quick and affordable upgrades as
signal processor technology evolves. As the US Navy migrate
its non BMD Aegis ships to open systems, Aegis BMD will be aligned
with this trend. BMD capability is expected to be included in
modernized, open architecture combat systems in Aegis cruisers
and destroyers starting in 2012.
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.
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 defense 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
U.S. Navy and MDA in September 2006.
The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 81 ships
around the globe with more than 25 additional ships planned
or under contract. In addition to the United States, Aegis is
the maritime weapon system of choice for Japan, South Korea,
Norway, Spain and Australia. Japan will begin installation of
Aegis BMD in its Kongo-class Aegis destroyers in 2007, and is
a partner in developing a larger, faster variant of the SM-3
missile. The Aegis BMD Weapon System seamlessly integrates the
SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, the SM-3 missile
and the weapon system's command and control system. The Aegis
BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving cues
from and providing cueing information to other BMDS elements.