Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum
Faslane, United Kingdom – The Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum wrapped up its At Sea Demonstration 2015 event Oct. 27 after carrying out the first live intercept of a ballistic missile target in Europe, culminating nearly four years of planning and three weeks of at sea operations in the North Atlantic with the help of White Sands Missile Range.
WSMR provided short range targets, stood up a launch site, executed complex logistics, provided flight safety analysis and technical personnel among other support personnel and additional support.
MTMD Forum Chair, Rear Adm. Jon A. Hill, the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems lauded the multi-national test team and operators that made the successful demonstration happen. “Our ships and systems performed superbly,” Hill said. Our approach to ASD15 was to build a little, test a little and learn a lot… we did just that and we are better individually and collectively for our effort. “I know I speak for all of the nations”, Hill continued, “in expressing my appreciation to the multi-national test team that spearheaded preparations for the event. The Forum nations also would like to thank our United Kingdom hosts and the QinetiQ operated Hebrides Range.”
Sal Rodriguez, System and Test Manager, Naval Surface Warfare Center Detachment White Sands, Port Hueneme Division, said the Navy White Sands Test Operations Group, White Sands Test Center, White Sands Garrison, White Sands Logistics Readiness Center and Holloman Air Force Base 49th group, played key support roles in facilitating the MTMD ASD15 events International/Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense Architectures.
“Some of the key WSMR support areas involved the use of WSMR’s Ballistic Missile Defense Short Range Targets. The NSWC WS Detachment built five Terrier Orions Short Range Targets, four primary with one back-up, at WSMR Navy and Army facilities, shipped these targets along with their associated ground support equipment, by land, air and/or sea to the launch operating location at Hebrides Sea Range, Scotland,” Rodriguez said.
While assessment of ship interoperability and the measurement of individual and collective Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability by participating ships was the primary purpose of the exercise, there were a number of significant events during ASD15. Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and United States conducted Surface-to-Air missile firing events; France, Norway and the United Kingdom conducted Radar and Combat Systems Development Trials; and the United States, with the assistance of its Forum partners, conducted the first ballistic missile defense capable Standard Missile 3 launch in Europe. Significantly, ASD15 included the first international ship, Netherlands and Spain, transmissions of ballistic missile defense cues to a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer. Finally, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States were all able to demonstrate their ability to contribute to NATO’s BMD link architecture.
The NSWC WS Detachment was also responsible for standing-up the launch site to establish the surface launch conditions similar to those found at White Sands Launch Complex-36, where we launched similar systems at WS. WSMR also planned/coordinated and executed a complex logistical activity that involved Navy, WS Garrison, WS LRC and US Air Force, and our international partners to ship all the targets, launch site equipment, and all ground support equipment by land, air and sea. WSTC also performed critical flight safety analysis for this international event bringing to bear the technical talent that WS Flight Safety Group is renowned for CONUS Live Fire Events. Also, WSTC via Range Operations / TRAX helped to support real time display capability utilizing the RAGE tool and technical personnel to assist key real time mission personnel with decision ability to make critical Go / No Go calls in a matter of tens of seconds.
“In summary, these elements that I summarized do not do justice in representing the hard work and dedication of the amazing and second to none men and women of the WS Navy and Army Test Groups, WS Garrison, WS LRC, and HAFB 49th,” Rodriguez said. “It involved nearly four years of planning/coordination/and execution to have the successful campaign in support of MTMD ASD15. It is now time to get our people back home for some well-deserved R&R and onto the next challenge.”
Hosted by the United Kingdom and Commanded by Commodore Frank Sijtsma, Royal Netherlands Navy, the MTMD Forum’s maritime Task Group successfully assessed the Forum’s ability to build a common tactical picture; shared situational awareness; executed coalition-level mission planning and engagement coordination; conducted force level pre-planned responses and as a result are now better able to understand individual and collective capabilities and limitations. Both Australia and Germany provided personnel to the maritime Task Group.
Established in 1999, the MTMD Forum is facilitating the ability of participating nations to improve interoperability and enhance individual and collective maritime integrated air and missile defense capabilities.
Miriam U. Rodriguez contributed to this report.