UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



KAUAI, HI, December 18th, 2007 -- The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force made history yesterday when, for the first time, a Japan Aegis guided missile destroyer equipped with Lockheed Martin's [NYSE: LMT] Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile target in space.

In December 2003, Japan decided to upgrade their Kongo Class Destroyers with the U.S. Navy’s Aegis BMD capability. These BMD installations are scheduled for 2007 through 2010. Each installation will be followed by a flight test to demonstrate the proper operation of the BMD equipment and computer programs. Japan Ship (JS) Kongo was the first ship to have the BMD upgrade installed.

In yesterday’s test, the Kongo, equipped with an adapted version of the latest U.S. Navy-certified Aegis BMD Weapon System, successfully guided a Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IA missile to intercept the medium range, separating warhead ballistic missile target outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to JS Kongo, the Aegis BMD-equipped cruiser USS Lake Erie and the ground-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) test unit on Kauai participated in this test. USS Lake Erie tracked and performed a simulated engagement against the ballistic missile, and exchanged information with the THAAD test unit. The test also represented the Aegis BMD system's 12th successful ballistic missile intercept in 14 attempts.

“Japan’s entry into the Aegis BMD fleet is a huge step for global missile defense,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. “This test event demonstrates the inherent capacity Aegis has to support the ballistic missile defense mission. Demonstration of this capability on Kongo opens the door for Aegis BMD on all Aegis ships around the world and gives allied nations a ready answer to address the ever-growing ballistic missile threat.”

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Currently, a total of 11 Aegis-equipped warships -- 10 in the U.S. Navy and one in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force -- have the ability to both conduct long-range search and track missions, as well as to engage ballistic missiles. Another seven U.S. Navy Aegis warships are equipped with Aegis BMD long range surveillance and track capability. Ultimately, the U.S. Navy will outfit 15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers to engage short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats and support other BMDS engagements using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and the SM-3 missile. As of October, Lockheed Martin has been contracted to provide Aegis BMD to Japan’s three Kongo-class destroyers as well.

The Aegis Weapon System, with the SPY-1 radar and MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), is the world’s premier naval surface defense system and is the foundation for Aegis BMD, a primary component of the sea-based element of the United States’ BMDS. Lockheed Martin, Combat System Engineering Agent for the Aegis Weapon System, has seamlessly engineered the SPY-1 radar, MK 41 VLS, SM-3 missile and the weapon system’s command and control capabilities. The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving track data from and providing track information to other BMDS elements.

The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 85 ships around the globe with more than 20 additional ships planned or under contract. In addition to the U.S. and Japan, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Norway, South Korea and Spain.

Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile defense system, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). It also has considerable experience in interceptor systems, kill vehicles, battle management command, control and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and other sensors that enable signal processing and data fusion. The company makes significant contributions to nearly all major U.S. Missile Defense Systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Media Contact:
Ken Ross 856-722-6941; 856-912-5802 (cell);
e-mail, kenneth.b.ross@lmco.com

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list