Lockheed Martin, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Missile Defense Agency successfully conducted on the 2nd of November a multifaceted operational test of the ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) that resulted in the successful intercepts of multiple air and missile targets launched within moments of one another.
In the test, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System aboard the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) received support from a sensor command-and-control architecture that included an AN/TPY-2 radar, and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) suite.
The event, called Flight Test Operational-02 Event 2 (FTO-02 E2), was conducted at Wake Island and surrounding areas. The event stressed the ability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and THAAD Weapon Systems to defeat a raid of three near-simultaneous air and missile targets, consisting of one medium range ballistic missile, one short range ballistic missile and one cruise missile target.
As the test began, the AN/TPY-2 radar detected the target and relayed track information to the C2BMC system to cue defending ballistic missile defense system assets. The THAAD system destroyed both the medium range and short range ballistic missiles, and the Aegis system defeated the air-breathing target. Preliminary data indicate all Lockheed Martin systems were successful.
The live-fire operational test demonstrated the integrated, layered, regional missile defense capabilities that have become the hallmark of the system. Soldiers, sailors and airmen from multiple Combatant Commands operated the systems and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics while increasing confidence in the execution of integrated air and missile defense plans.
“Today’s successful intercepts proved once again that the capability and maturity of the Lockheed Martin missile defense systems are unequaled,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president and program manager for THAAD at Lockheed Martin. “This realistic and complex operational test demonstrated that a multi-tier layered defense is essential in the protection of nations from current and emerging air and missile threats.”
“In this test, we see BMDS as it would operate in a real-world scenario, where layers of sensor data and BMD assets work seamlessly to recognize and eliminate threats,” said Paul Klammer, director for Aegis BMD Programs at Lockheed Martin. “This interoperability of these systems is a testament to the engineering that has built these programs and our partnership with the U.S. Navy and MDA.”
The THAAD system, using a second AN/TPY-2 radar, tracked the target. THAAD developed a fire-control solution, launched a THAAD interceptor missile and successfully intercepted the short-range ballistic missile and the medium-range ballistic missile. THAAD was operated by soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
Meanwhile, USS John Paul Jones, utilizing Aegis Baseline 9’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability, successfully engaged the “air breather” cruise-missile target.
MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 68 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 84 flight test attempts since 2001.
Following the most recent series of ballistic missile tests, Aegis has completed 32 successful intercepts in 38 flight tests. The Baseline 9 configuration of the Aegis Combat System is the only maritime combat system proven capable of integrated ballistic missile and air defense. Currently, a total of 33 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 29 in the U.S. Navy and four in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force – have the certified capability to engage ballistic missiles and perform long-range surveillance and tracking missions.
Since 2005, the THAAD program has successfully completed 14 flight tests, with 13-for-13 successful intercepts. THAAD is one of the few missile defense systems with the operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres. This unique capability allows THAAD to exponentially improve air and missile defense architectures around the globe.