The new Aegis Virtual Twin system has completed the first live-fire engagement on the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

The Virtual Twin system is a prototype of the Aegis Virtual Combat Management System takes up much less room than the actual Aegis Combat System on a guided-missile destroyer or cruiser.

Sailors on the destroyer operated the Virtual Twin to fire a missile against an incoming target. The test was performed in partnership with Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS).

The successful test proves the ability of the Virtual Twin to control radars and missiles to execute an engagement.

The new prototype uses virtualisation technology to run the Aegis Weapon System code in a fraction of the original hardware space.

PEO IWS executed the installation of the Virtual Twin on DDG 116 in small rugged cases.

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“I am really excited to see it advance both tactically and as a feedback loop for continuous improvement of the weapon system’s software.”

In future designs, the reduced size will provide room to host increased capabilities such as artificial intelligence, training, and analysis.

Aegis Combat System Major programme manager captain Todd Boehm said: “Delivering warfighting power to the hands of our sailors is our mission, and breaking the paradigm of hardware-software dependent deliveries is a major step toward rapidly delivering that warfighting power.”

The live-fire engagement was conducted during Thomas Hudner’s combat system ship qualification trials.

Execution of the test marks key milestones for both the Twin and the Navy’s Aegis platform.

Thomas Hudner commanding officer commodore Nathan Scherry said: “Virtual Twin has a tremendous role as the next step for the Guided Missile Destroyer’s weapon system, and I am really excited to see it advance both tactically and as a feedback loop for continuous improvement of the weapon system’s software.”

The digital twins will facilitate the modernisation of the ships without long modernisation overhauls.