Magazine article National Defense

Aegis Ashore Adapts Sea-Based Missile Defense System to Protect Europe

Magazine article National Defense

Aegis Ashore Adapts Sea-Based Missile Defense System to Protect Europe

Article excerpt

The U.S. Navy is building on the success of the Aegis Combat System's ballistic missile defense capability--literally--to protect Europe.

Four guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) with the proven Aegis BMD system are now forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, as part of the European phased adaptive approach (EPAA). Joining those ships is Aegis Ashore, a land-based version of the same Aegis BMD capability located at Deveselu, Romania. The Deveselu site sits on a former Warsaw Pact airbase.

Aegis Ashore was developed and constructed by a unique government-industry team created to build a ship-board weapon system at a shore facility to meet the EPAA requirements.

EPAA Phase II was declared complete on May 12 when the Deveselu site was operationally certified. A second Aegis Ashore missile defense system will be located in Redzikowo, Poland, and will be operational by 2018 as part of Phase three.

Construction for the new base was managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Kellogg Brown and Root was the construction manager.

The ashore-system deckhouse structure, which houses the SPY-1 radar arrays and combat information center, looks similar to a DDG. That's by design.

To reduce risk and cost for the shore based sensor, launchers and missiles, the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy applied the same solution as the ship-based system. The equipment and software is the same as DDG 113, and reflects the latest Lockheed Martin Aegis "baseline" and the newest Raytheon SM-3 IB missile and the MK 41 vertical launching system, supplied by the two contractors, which is found throughout the fleet and with navies around the world.

There are several phases to the EPAA. Phase one began in 2011 with the arrival of the Norfolk-based BMD-capable Aegis guided missile cruiser, USS Monterey, CG 61, in the Mediterranean. A forward-based Army Navy/transportable radar surveillance system, AN/TPY-2, was also installed in Turkey.

Phase two includes the ashore site at Deveselu, with Aegis Baseline 9 and upgraded SM-3 Block IB interceptors, along with the four Aegis BMD-capable guided missile destroyers now stationed at Rota, Spain, and "forward deployed" to support ship stationing requirements for the U.S. 6th Fleet.

With Phase three, the second ashore-system in Poland will augment the four ships and the Romania Aegis Ashore site for a fully integrated system. The result is that with each successive phase, the EPAA will have more advanced systems and missiles.

To validate the concept and further reduce risk, the prototype shore-based Aegis deckhouse was built at Lockheed Martin's Moorestown, New Jersey, facility, next to the "Cruiser in the Cornfield" that has been used to test the original Aegis system. Aegis first went to sea aboard the test ship USS Norton Sound in 1973, Ticonderoga-class ships starting in 1983, and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in 1991.

While the Moorestown site could radiate and track targets, it couldn't actually fire missiles. So to fully test its capabilities, the Missile Defense Agency completed the Aegis Ashore missile defense test complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The Aegis system employed in Hawaii was first integrated into the deckhouse destined for Romania, built on site at Moorestown, where initial tests were conducted. The weapon system was then removed and shipped to Hawaii where it was integrated with a duplicate deckhouse built there.

The site has conducted three live-fire flight tests, and will continue to be the test platform for Aegis Ashore, Baseline 9, and SM-3 capability through delivery of Phase III in 2018, said agency spokesman Christopher Szkrybalo.

Brendan Scanlon, Lockheed Martin's Aegis Ashore program manager, said the goal was to take the proven sea-based Aegis system and bring it to land with as few changes as possible.

There are some differences. …

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