June 13, 2008
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
APL Supports Dual-Target Tracking Exercise
Today, during the final phase of a 2-part Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense exercise designated as Flight Test Maritime-14 (FTM-14), an APL team, made up of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and Aegis Weapon System experts, supported two simulated SM-3 engagements against two separating targets launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
"Although we successfully tackled a dual engagement during a flight test in November 2007, this was the shortest time between two target launches, making it extremely challenging," says Angela Barrios, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's (APL) assistant Aegis BMD program manager.
The two targets, with separating nosecones, added an additional layer of realism and challenge for the weapon system, which the team onboard the USS Lake Erie fully exercised. "Even though we didn't actually fire any missiles," Barrios says, "the simulations successfully tested the weapon system software upgrades that we made to improve the radar's tracking capability."
APL, technical direction agent for the Aegis BMD program, performed preflight predictions of the weapon system and missile performance using high-fidelity simulations, and will be updating and validating these simulation models using the collected data to enhance the accuracy of future Aegis BMD system performance predictions.
Last week, during the first part of the FTM-14 event, APL helped conduct the first test of the Aegis BMD 3.6.1 combat system, an upgrade to the currently fielded system that provides simultaneous BMD and ship self-defense capabilities for protecting sea- and land-based assets against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. During that exercise, two SM-2 Block IV missiles successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile-like target, marking the 18th Aegis BMD-based flight test to date since the test series began in 1997.
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-2 and 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.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu