Missile Defense: US unveils innovative Aegis system

US Navy ship firing an Aegis BMD Baseline 9 system

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US Navy ship firing an Aegis BMD Baseline 9 system
US Navy ship firing an Aegis BMD Baseline 9 system

Aegis Test Shows U.S. Ability to Defeat North Korea, Iran Missile Raids.

Three Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) ships tracked and discriminated three short-ranged target ballistic missiles recently near Wallops Island, VA. One of the three ships, the USS Barry (DDG-52) used the newest Aegis BMD Baseline 9 system.

This system features much greater capability than the ones the majority of U.S. Aegis BMD ships currently operate. Baseline 9 gives an Aegis BMD ship greater processing power than previous generations, enabling it to handle larger raids of multiple missiles, while allowing the ships to conduct BMD operations while simultaneously detecting threats to the ship itself.

The ships also employed a new Distributed Weight Engagement Scheme (DWES), which allowed the ships to automatically determine which of them had the optimal firing solution to engage each of the missiles. This upgrade is said to have shown the ability to not waste interceptors by having multiple ships track a raid of targets and singling out the best intercept solution from the three ships for each of the targets.

In a statement released soon after the demonstration, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) Riki Ellison noted that only few countries have conducted similar drills, using salvo raids with multiple missiles.

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future forces_3Ellison added that “through its enhanced processor, the Baseline 9 system enables more capability to engage multiple targets and employ advanced interceptors such as the SM3-IIA and SM-6, while at the same time being able to operate all the other combat systems on the ship if required.”

The ability to track, discriminate and intercept larger numbers of missiles efficiently makes U.S. BMD ships such as the USS Barry more capable of defeating the kind of attacks the United States is likely to face from its adversaries. In his statement, Ellison noted that the scenario of yesterday’s test “duplicates many regions in the world where two or more US Aegis BMD Destroyers and Cruisers operate in the same waters adjacent to adversarial countries armed with ballistic missiles, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria.”

The three ships that took part the test, the USS Barry (DDG-52), USS Carney (DDG-64), and USS Gonzalez DDG-66) are all East Coast based ships that routinely conduct BMD patrols in the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean.

Only three U.S. Aegis BMD ships are currently upgraded with Baseline 9 capability. Ellison emphasizes that “It is imperative that all 33 of our Aegis BMD ships are modernized with Baseline 9 upgrades to give our ships and crews the best capacity and capability to handle multiple raids.”