On Tuesday morning, off the coast of Virginia near Wallops Island, three United States Aegis BMD Destroyers – the USS Barry(DDG-52), USS Carney(DDG-64) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) collaborated together to track, discriminate a raid of three target ballistic missiles and efficiently choose amongst the three floating platforms the best interceptor solutions and interceptors amongst the ships to intercept the volume of missiles in air at the same time. This success showed the ability to not waste interceptors by having multiple ships track a raid of targets and singling out the best intercept solution from the three ships for each of the targets.
This scenario duplicates many regions in the world where two or more US Aegis BMD Destroyers and Cruisers operate in the same waters adjacent to adversarial countries armed with ballistic missiles, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria. These countries have inventories of multiple ballistic missiles and have tested salvo and raid type demonstrations to overcome single inventory solution missile defenses. The success of this test provides great confidence in the U.S. Navy’s ability to defeat raid attacks from North Korea, Iran and Syria from nearby international waters where U.S. Aegis ships patrol.
In this successful Aegis test demonstration, among the three Aegis BMD Ships, the United States proved out its most modern Aegis software system, the baseline 9 or 5.0 on the USS Barry for the first time, which is the first baseline 9 ship deployed and home ported on the East Coast in Norfolk, Virginia. Through its processor, this system enables more capability to engage multiple targets and employ advanced interceptors such as the SM3-IIA and SM-6, while at the same time being able to operate all the other combat systems on the ship if required. The USS Barry worked with earlier generation Aegis 4.0.2 systems on the other two ships to prove out realistic operations within the current BMD capable ships that are not of the most modern generations of baseline 9.
Out of the 33 Aegis BMD ships currently in the United States Navy, only three are currently Baseline 9 equipped. Four more will be getting upgraded next year, but due to budget constraints only three more after that are scheduled to get modernized. It is imperative that all of our Aegis BMD ships are modernized with baseline 9 upgrades to give our ships and crews the best capacity and capability to handle multiple raids, launch defenses from remote sensors away from the ship and engage on sensors that are forward based and outside the range of the ship’s internal sensors. This increases the defended area by magnitudes and overcomes saturation of incoming multiple threatening ballistic and cruise missiles.
Having this mobile ship-based capability that can be moved quickly to unstable regions around the world, without needing international agreements or putting Americans on the ground near crisis areas offers a tremendous option to our President and military to dissuade conflict, deter aggression and keep the peace.
Congratulations to those sailors and officers on the USS Barry, USS Carney, and USS Gonzalez that accomplished this successful demonstration in the waters off Virginia early Tuesday morning.
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.