Tag Archives: MDA

THAAD interceptor

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Lockheed Martin a $459 million contract modification for production and delivery of interceptors for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system. The modification brings the total contract value to $1.28 billion with funding provided in 2017 and 2018. The new interceptors support U.S. Army THAAD units and growing operational requirements.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $1.2 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for THAAD interceptor production and delivery
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $1.2 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for THAAD interceptor production and delivery

THAAD is a key element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), and is highly effective at protecting America’s military, allied forces, citizen population centers and critical infrastructure from short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missile attacks.

«The THAAD system’s capability and reliability have been demonstrated with 15 out of 15 hit-to-kill intercepts dating back to 1999, and by exceeding readiness rates currently being experienced in the field with operationally deployed batteries», said Richard McDaniel, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for the THAAD system.

«THAAD interceptors defeat dangerous missile threats our troops and allies are facing today, and have capability against advancing future threats. Our focus on affordability, coupled with efficiencies of increased volume, is providing significant cost-savings opportunities to meet growing demand from the U.S. and allies around the globe», he said.

THAAD employs Lockheed Martin’s proven «hit-to-kill» technology. The system is rapidly deployable, mobile, and is interoperable with all other BMDS elements, including Patriot/Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), Aegis, forward-based sensors and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system. These unique capabilities make THAAD an important addition to integrated air and missile defense architectures around the world.

The U.S. Army activated the seventh THAAD battery in December 2016. Lockheed Martin delivered the 200th THAAD interceptor in September of 2017. The United Arab Emirates was the first international partner to procure THAAD with a contract awarded in 2011.

Successful Missile-Intercept

On May 30, 2017, the Defense Department successfully intercepted an InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, according to a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) news release.

Defense Department Successfully Intercepts Missile in Test
Defense Department Successfully Intercepts Missile in Test

The successful test was conducted by the Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense and U.S. Northern Command.

 

‘An Incredible Accomplishment’

«The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program», said MDA Director Navy Vice Admiral Jim Syring. «This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day».

This was the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for GMD and the U.S. ballistic missile defense system.

During the test, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Multiple sensors provided target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication system.

The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the Pacific Ocean, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received the target tracking data and developed a fire control solution to intercept the target.

A ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and its exo-atmospheric kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision.

 

Flight Data Slated for Evaluation

Initial indications are that the test met its primary objective, but program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The test, designated Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-15, will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of the GMD system and provide enhanced homeland defense capabilities.

The GMD element of the ballistic missile defense system provides combatant commanders the capability to engage and destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats to protect the U.S. The mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from limited ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

BMD co-ordination

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Sailors aboard the USS Carney (DDG-64), USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) and USS Barry (DDG-52) successfully completed a flight test today involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system.

Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme helped ships avoid launching multiple missiles to counter threats
Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme helped ships avoid launching multiple missiles to counter threats

At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near-simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Two Aegis BMD destroyers acquired and tracked the targets, while another destroyer participated in associated operations. Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships conducted simulated Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile engagements with the Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme (DWES) capability enabled.

The DWES provides an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships that determines which ship is the preferred shooter, reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage. Several fire control, discrimination, and engagement functions were exercised. Since no SM-3 guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept.

This test was designated Flight Test Other 19 (FTX-19). This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets. This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets.

According to Geoff Fein, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, in this scenario one ship took two shots and one ship took one. The USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) took two shots based on how DWES determined who had best shot. The system can be configured to automatically fire or have operator intervention. Both ships fired simulated Standard Missile-3s. A third ship, USS Barry (DDG-52), equipped with Aegis baseline 9, also took part in the test, but it did not participate in the co-ordinated tracking and engagement of the three ballistic missile targets.

Three short-range ballistic missile targets are launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in support of FTX-19
Three short-range ballistic missile targets are launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in support of FTX-19

USS Barry (DDG-52) was tracking the three targets and doing simulated engagements similar to what the other ships were doing, except that USS Carney (DDG-64) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) were testing out DWES. USS Barry (DDG-52) gave an opportunity to use the latest Baseline 9 build and make sure Navy could do simultaneous engagements in the same raid-type scenario.

The difference between USS Carney (DDG-64) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) equipped with Aegis Baseline 4 and USS Barry (DDG-52) equipped with Baseline 9 is that the baseline 4 ships have a combination of the older UYK military-based and commercial off-the-shelf computers and rely on the ballistic signal processor functionality.

USS Barry (DDG-52) just received Baseline 9, which has the latest software configuration that brings an integrated air and missile defence capability to the ship. Baseline 9 also has the multi-mission signal processor, which is capable of conducting both air and BMD missions simultaneously. Aegis Baseline 9 has DWES capability built in. Additionally two cruisers, USS Lake Erie (CG-70) and USS Shiloh (CG-67), have DWES functionality.

The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System and support the advancement of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe to provide protection of U.S. deployed forces and European allies and partners.