The US Navy and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully tested the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system at Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, US.
During testing, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched over the Atlantic Ocean. They were then acquired and tracked by two Aegis BMD destroyers.
The USS Carney, USS Gonzalez and USS Barry took part in the test.
Data was also used by the Aegis BMD ships to conduct simulated standard missile-3 block IB guided-missile engagements using the distributed weighted engagement scheme (DWES) capability.
Designated Flight Test Other (FTX)-19, the test represents the first assessment of the system’s ability to simulate engagements consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets.
It also included several fire control, discrimination and engagement functions.
The DWES capability was used by the ships with live targets for the first time and is designed to provide an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships.
This capability helps to determine what ship is the preferred shooter and reduce duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures, while ensuring a sufficient BMD-threat coverage.
Test results will be used by the MDA to improve the BMD system and support the advancement of phase two of the phased adaptive approach for missile defence in Europe to safeguard US deployed forces, European allies and partners.
Aegis BMD has been designed to defeat short to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats using the SM-3 missile.
The programme is managed by the MDA and US Navy.
Image: Three short-range ballistic missile targets are launched from Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in support of FTX-19. Photo: courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency.