Riki Ellison, one of the top lay experts in the field of missile defense discussed the Aegis BMD missile defense tests held this week. Ellison is also the Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance based in Alexandria, Virginia. His comments are below:
“Three Aegis BMD ships tracked and discriminated three short-ranged target ballistic missiles on Tuesday morning near Wallops Island, VA. One of the three ships, the USS Barry (DDG-52) used the newest Aegis BMD Baseline 9 system, with much greater capability than the majority of U.S. Aegis BMD ships currently operating. Baseline 9 gives an Aegis BMD ship greater processing power than previous generations, enabling it to handle larger raids of multiple missiles, while allowing the ships to conduct BMD operations while simultaneously detecting threats to the ship itself.
The ships also employed a new Distributed Weight Engagement Scheme (DWES), which allowed the ships to automatically determine which of them had the optimal firing solution to engage each of the missiles. This upgrade “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.” said Ellison.In a statement today, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance Riki Ellison said that “through its enhanced processor, the Baseline 9 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 ability to track, discriminate and intercept larger numbers of missiles efficiently makes U.S. BMD ships such as the USS Barry more capable of defeating the kind of attacks the United States is likely to face from its adversaries. In his statement, Ellison noted that the scenario of yesterday’s test “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.” He noted that these countries have conducted past drills exercising salvo raids with multiple missiles.
The three ships that took part in Tuesday’s test, the USS Barry (DDG-52), USS Carney (DDG-64), and USS Gonzalez DDG-66) are all East Coast based ships that routinely conduct BMD patrols in the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean.
Only three U.S. Aegis BMD ships are currently upgraded with baseline 9 capability. Ellison emphasizes that “It is imperative that all 33 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.”
Ellison concluded with: “Having this mobile ship-based capability that can be moved quickly to unstable regions around the world…offers a tremendous option to our President and military to dissuade conflict, deter aggression and keep the peace.”
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance