Today, at the Hawaii-based Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), the Navy and Missile Defense Agency successfully conducted Flight Test Maritime-11 (FTM-11) Event 4, an exercise involving the first simultaneous engagements of ballistic missile and anti-air warfare targets using ship-based guided missiles, specifically the SM-3 Block IA and SM-2 Block IIIA.
As Technical Direction Agent for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., played a key role in planning and executing today's flight test, including modeling and simulation efforts to predict expected system performance. This was the eighth successful intercept of 10 attempts for the Aegis BMD Program.
Providing Technical Direction
APL's role as Technical Direction Agent for the Aegis BMD program, which includes SM-3, involves a myriad of activities. APL performs preflight predictions of the Aegis BMD system's performance using high-fidelity simulations of the AN/SPY-1 radar, as well as the SM-3 and SM-2. Actual missile computer programs are tested in labs on the APL campus. Laboratory teams simulate hundreds of missile flights before each flight test to increase confidence that the combat system is ready to test in an expensive live-fire exercise.
Additionally, APL defines mission and target requirements; establishes test scenarios (including identifying locations for air-, ground-, and sea-based units); develops target signature predictions for weapon system analysis; conducts debris analysis for range safety; and determines acceptable launch windows to avoid orbiting satellites.
On test day, APL technical experts man test control consoles at PMRF to evaluate real-time target performance assessment and evaluate missile telemetry. APL's PMRF field office, manned by two full-time technical APL staff members, coordinates placement of the range's high-speed camera instrumentation, supports range operations onboard an instrumentation platform, and coordinates the range's post-mission Data Analysis Center activities.
After the mission, APL experts immediately begin analyzing flight data. They initiate a comprehensive analysis of all test sensors to create a reconstruction of the flight mission. APL analysts' initial results are used to support "quick-look" reviews at the test range. More detailed analysis continues at APL and concludes with a final mission data review two to three months after a test.
At the conclusion of the flight mission data review, APL updates and validates the radar and six-degree-of-freedom performance simulations as well as any target models used to drive those simulations, and participates in any post-flight investigations associated with the test. APL works with the larger Aegis BMD community, including Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, and Raytheon Missile Systems, to engineer any necessary system modifications to fulfill the Aegis BMD mission requirements. APL representatives are among the leaders in the joint community for link communications systems connecting Aegis ships and other sea-, space-, and ground-based assets.
MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program. Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is the prime contractor for the development of the SM-3. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., manages the development of the Aegis BMD Weapon System installed in Aegis cruisers and destroyers.
For more information about APL, visit www.jhuapl.edu. For images and/or information about FTM-11, visit MDA's Web site at www.mda.mil.