Lockheed Martin’s new Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) system 4.0.1 configuration upgrades have been certified by the US Navy, marking a milestone in the evolution of the Aegis system.
Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business director of BMD development programmes Nick Bucci said the milestone represents the continuing evolution of Aegis Combat System capabilities and the firm’s commitment to advancing the Aegis system to outpace enemy threats.
"It is the first step toward a fully open architecture that enables systems to be upgraded faster and at a lower cost," Bucci added.
Featuring the Aegis BMD signal processor, which uses open architecture standards to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf technology, the second-generation 4.0.1 configuration enhances air and missile defence capabilities of the existing system to advance on threat sophistication and tactics.
The US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, USS Shiloh (CG-67), home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, will be the first ship to be upgraded with the new BMD 4.0.1 configuration.
Designed to defend against airborne threats, the Aegis weapon system is a surface-to-air integrated weapons platform and is also used by the navy as a tactical radar defence and fire-control system.
The Aegis system seamlessly integrates radars, computers and weapons and was first developed to counter massed attacks by Soviet anti-ship missiles.
Aegis-equipped ships are multi-mission surface combatants, to be equipped with SM-3 missiles, which can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically implementing defenses to protect the fleet against aircraft and missiles.
About 27 Aegis BMD-equipped ships are currently available for operational deployment, of which 23 belong to US Navy and four are Japanese destroyers.
The US Navy has more than 100 SM-3 missiles available for loading on these ships.
Image: USS Shiloh (CG-67) will be the first ship to be upgraded with the new BMD 4.0.1 configuration. Photo: Makthorpe.