Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
There are two Aegis BMD Weapon System configurations operating in the Fleet. These configurations provide exo-atmospheric engagement capability against short-, medium-, and some intermediate-range ballistic missiles with the SM-3 Block IA missile. Aegis BMD also includes a Sea-Based Terminal defense capability using BMD modified SM-2 Block IV missiles to engage short range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase. Aegis BMD also supports Homeland Defense by detecting and tracking Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and reporting track data to the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). This capability shares tracking data to cue other missile defense sensors and provides fire control data to Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors located in Alaska and California. Track data of short range missiles is also used to cue other weapon system elements of the BMDS including Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Patriot and other Navy BMD ships. As of October 2013, there are 29 Aegis BMD ships in the Fleet.
USS MONTEREY (CG-61), upgraded with the operational Aegis BMD 3.6.1 Weapon System and armed with proven SM-3 missiles, was deployed to the European theater as the first Aegis BMD ship to fulfill the Navy's EPAA Phase 1 responsibilities.
Aegis BMD tracking and engagement capabilities have also been demonstrated in four Fleet exercises by the warfighter.
Aegis BMD is the first MDA missile defense system to be procured by our allies. Japan has upgraded their Aegis-configured destroyers with the BMD capability through Foreign Military Sales cases.
Phased, Adaptive Approach
On September 17, 2009, President Obama announced a new Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) after the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended a revision to the previous Administration's plan for missile defense in Europe.
Aegis BMD is the cornerstone of the PAA. To ensure that Europe is protected from an evolving ballistic missile threat, SM-3 upgrades are being phased in to deployed Aegis BMD ships and land-based facilities during this decade. Each SM-3 upgrade provides more capability for countering ballistic missile threats, defending an increasingly larger area, improving resilience against threat technical developments and adapting to an evolving security environment.
Phase 1 was deployed on-time consisting of the command and control node in Germany, the forward-based radar in Turkey and an Aegis missile defense ship on-station in the Mediterranean Sea. A critical European PAA Phase 1 milestone was achieved when Aegis BMD 3.6.1 / SM-3 Block IA missile destroyed an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile target using tracking data from a forward-based radar. Watch the FTM-15 video.
In Phase 2 (2015 Timeframe), the second generation Aegis BMD Weapon System (Aegis BMD 4.0.X and SM-3 Block IB missile) enables the engagement of increasingly longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles launched in larger raid sizes. A series of intercept firings are being conducted to validate the operational effectiveness and suitability of the weapon system against an increasingly sophisticated set of targets and scenarios. The SM-3 Block IB missile will be deployed in ships at sea and on land at Aegis Ashore sites. Aegis Ashore sites will be constructed at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii for testing and in Romania and Poland for defensive operations. The Aegis Ashore system takes the proven capability of Aegis BMD at sea and moves the capability to land. Aegis BMD capability has the longest range of the MDA's regional systems, thus it adds a layer of missile defense to land. The addition of land-based sites significantly increases coverage to NATO countries against hostile ballistic missiles from the Middle East.
For Phase 3 (2018 Timeframe), the SM-3 Block IIA, being co-developed with Japan, is on schedule for deployment at Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland and aboard Aegis BMD ships at sea.
Meeting the Demand Signal
In response to the combatant commanders' (European, Central and Pacific Commands) increased demand for Aegis BMD capability and the president's PAA for missile defense of Europe, the number of Aegis BMD ships need to increase. The Navy and MDA continue to jointly respond to the need for operational Aegis BMD capability through BMD upgrades to Aegis ships, Aegis Modernization Program and new construction. The MDA has placed more funds to accelerate the number of Aegis BMD ships in the Fleet and the Navy added funds to bring online three additional BMD ships and upgrade one ship to the most advanced configuration, BMD 4.0.X. Together, MDA and the Navy have added four ships over the past two years. The Future Years Defense Plan increases the total number of funded Aegis BMD capable ships to 37 by FY18.