Dear Members and Friends,
Off the coast of Scotland in the northern Atlantic Ocean, nine allied navies came together over the past month for four events, cumulating in a joint interoperable cruise and ballistic missile defense firing exercise with all of the navies involved. The non-NATO Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum (MTMD) At Sea Demonstration concluded this week and demonstrated exponential force projection from the sea and the interoperability to share information to between a Dutch DeZeven Provinces-class frigate and a U.S. Aegis BMD-class destroyer to intercept a target representing a ballistic missile while a Canadian Halifax-class frigate and a separate U.S. Aegis destroyer also intercepted cruise missile targets. The other involved ships: a Spanish F105 frigate, United Kingdom Type 45 destroyer, Norwegian Nansen-class frigate, Italian Orizzonte-class destroyer, French Fremm-class frigate, Dutch DeZeven-class frigate and US BMD Aegis-class destroyer, also worked on providing critical tracking and for incoming threat target missiles and ran simulations through shared data links. Other ships involved with the exercise included the Australian ANZAC-class frigate.
This first ever major European air and missile defense-centric navy event, performed with the support of the United States, Canada and Australia, clearly galvanized a significant massing of navies to track, engage and apply resources efficiently to intercept cruise and ballistic missile threats in the defense of a region from the water. This successful demonstration of integrated tracking and intercepts also boosted confidence in the reliability of these ships to serve as an effective force multiplier in both defense and deterrence missions from the seas and oceans that border their nations. In particular, the demonstrated capability displayed by the Spanish, Dutch and British ships opens up the possibility of support and relief for the four U.S. Aegis BMD ships based in Rota, Spain to add missions in the Mediterranean. Because the older Aegis BMD processors on the Rota-based U.S. ships have not been modernized to Baseline 9 due to budget decisions, these ships are challenged to carry out multiple missions when doing ballistic missile defense, and thus need a U.S. ship near-by to support other missions, including defending the BMD ship. The test off the coast of Scotland proved that U.S. ships can rely on allied vessels to provide cueing, tracking, and even defend air space for the U.S. ship while it is in BMD mode.
The ramifications and strategic impact of this event sets the stage to further build allied armadas through organizations like the MTMD Forum with maritime nations like Korea and Japan to have a global sea-based integrated air and ballistic missile network to defend and deter in any ocean or sea. This test further stimulates these allied seafaring nations to have interoperability with sensors and move towards eventually being able to provide BMD shooters to augment the partnership’s capacity. Considering the proliferation and use of cruise missiles by Russia and ballistic missiles by Syria in the Mediterranean, the demonstration by this joint allied armada certainly could not be timelier.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.