Lockheed Martin's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launch at sunset (photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)
With the US Navy expected to increase the number of ballistic missile defense ships, the capabilities of the defense systems on board those ships are being put to the test. Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) successfully completed a complex missile defense test in which they intercepted two medium-range ballistic missile targets in an operationally realistic environment. The test demonstrated integrated, layered, regional missile defense capabilities in a combined live-fire operational scenario. Conducted at the US Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site, preliminary data indicate that all test objectives were achieved.
An Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control (AN/TPY-2) radar in forward based mode (FBM) detected the target and relayed track information to the Command Control Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system to cue defending BMDS assets. The USS Decatur with onboard AN/SPY-1 radar detected and tracked the missile. . The ship, equipped with the Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution, launched a Standard Missile-3, Block IA missile, and successfully intercepted the target. The FBM radar acquired the target and sent tracking information to the C2BMC system. The THAAD system, using a second AN/TPY-2 radar, tracked another target, developed a fire control solution, and successfully intercepted the missile.