Military Embedded Systems

Missile targets destroyed by THAAD, Aegis systems in tests off Wake Island


November 06, 2015

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

WAKE ISLAND, U.S. Territory. Officials from the U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted a multifaceted operational test of the ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) resulting in intercepts of multiple air and missile targets launched within moments of each other.

In the test, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) on the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) were supported from a sensor command-and-control architecture that had an AN/TPY-2 radar, and the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) suite.

The event, which was called Flight Test Operational-02 Event 2 (FTO-02 E2), was performed at Wake Island and surrounding areas. It showed the ability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and THAAD Weapon Systems to defeat a raid of three near-simultaneous air and missile targets, consisting of one medium range ballistic missile, one short range ballistic missile, and one cruise missile target.

As the test started, the AN/TPY-2 radar detected the target and relayed track information to the C2BMC system to cue defending BMDS assets. The THAAD system then destroyed the medium range and short range ballistic missiles, and the Aegis system defeated the air-breathing target. Preliminary data show that all Lockheed Martin systems were successful, company officials say.

Soldiers, sailors, and airmen from multiple combatant commands operated the systems and were given the opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics while increasing their confidence in the execution of integrated air and missile defense plans.

“In this test, we see BMDS as it would operate in a real-world scenario, where layers of sensor data and BMD assets work seamlessly to recognize and eliminate threats,” says Paul Klammer, director for Aegis BMD Programs at Lockheed Martin.

The THAAD system, using a second AN/TPY-2 radar, tracked the target. THAAD developed a fire-control solution, launched a THAAD interceptor missile, and intercepted the short-range ballistic missile and the medium-range ballistic missile. THAAD was operated by soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
Meanwhile, USS John Paul Jones, utilizing Aegis Baseline 9’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability, engaged the "air breather" cruise-missile target.

MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 68 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 84 flight test attempts since 2001.

Following the most recent series of ballistic missile tests, Aegis has now completed 32 successful intercepts in 38 flight tests. Currently, a total of 33 Aegis BMD-equipped warships – 29 in the U.S. Navy and four in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force – have the certified capability to engage ballistic missiles and perform long-range surveillance and tracking missions.

Since 2005, the THAAD program has successfully completed 14 flight tests, with 13-for-13 successful intercepts. THAAD has operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres.


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