Posted by Courtney E. Howard
MOORESTOWN, N.J., 31 Jan. 2011. The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy, and Lockheed Martin completed a key tracking exercise for the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) system aboard three Navy ships. In the Atlantic Trident test, the USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) tracked a short-range ballistic missile target. The Monterey and Ramage also simulated target solutions that would have resulted in intercepts.
"This event verified that both the Aegis BMD systems and crews aboard the ships are able to execute the missions necessary to support the nation's missile defense strategy," says Lisa Callahan, vice president of maritime BMD systems. "Aegis BMD is effective, affordable, and interoperable with other systems and produces a layered air and missile defense capability to protect the U.S. homeland, our deployed forces, and our allies."
This Aegis test is the first to take place on the East coast; all previous tests occurred at test ranges in the Pacific Ocean. The exercise took place off of Wallops Island, Va., at the Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket launch site that supports science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government agencies.
A total of 25 ships--21 U.S. Navy Aegis-equipped ships and four Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyers--are outfitted with Aegis BMD capability. An additional three ships are planned to become BMD-capable this year.