WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 – The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the USS Carney, USS Gonzalez, and USS Barry successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system, according to a Defense Department news release.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST today, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched nearly simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, the release said.
Destroyers Acquire, Track Targets
Two Aegis BMD destroyers acquired and tracked the targets. Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships conducted simulated Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile engagements with the distributed weighted engagement scheme capability enabled, according to the release. The DWES provides an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships that determines which ship is the preferred shooter, reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage.
Several fire control, discrimination, and engagement functions were exercised, the release said. As no SM-3 guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept.
“The Naval Surface Warfare Center, White Sands Detachment part of the Port Hueneme Division, was the provider of the Three Short-Range Ballistic Missile Targets that were launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility as part of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Flight Test Other (FTX)-19,” said Sal Rodriguez, Systems and Test Manager, Naval Surface Warfare Center, White Sands Detachment. “The White Sands Navy Detachments is proud to provide these type of Short-Range Ballistic Missile Targets to help enable and stimulate the desired System Under Test architecture.”
This test was designated Flight Test Other-19. This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets, according to the release. This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets.
The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System and support the advancement of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe to provide protection of U.S. deployed forces, our European allies and partners, the release said.
Aegis BMD is the naval component of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, according to the release. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.