Sea-Based Radar Aces Missile Tracking Test
Radars at sea successfully tracked a long-range target missile, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Tracking the target were the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) radar and two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships using onboard SPY-1 radar.
Those radars are being integrated into the BMD system, the multi-layered shield that is to protect the United States, its forces and allies from incoming enemy missiles.
The target missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. at 9:27 p.m. PT March 20 (12:27 a.m. ET March 21).
This test aimed to assess execution and functionality of various BMD engagement sequence groups.
Such a group identifies the combination of weapons and sensors that work together to detect, track and intercept an enemy missile.
During the test, target tracking data from the SBX radar was transmitted to the system and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense fire control system at the Joint National Integration Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
While no live interceptor missiles were launched, a weapon task plan (intercept solution) was generated and simulated interceptor missiles were sim-launched from Fort Greely, Alaska, using performance data from previous interceptor launches.
Likewisey, Aegis ships tracked the target missile and performed a simulated engagement using a simulated Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor missile.
The largest radar of its type, the SBX is designed to track and discriminate small objects in space, which makes it especially effective for missile defense, according to MDA.
It provides information to help direct ground and sea-based interceptor missiles in a position to collide directly with an incoming missile warhead for a hit-to-kill intercept to destroy the warhead before it reaches its target in the United States with a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon.
Participants from the ballistic missile defense operational community included the Operational Test Agencies, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command.
The test provided an opportunity for warfighters from combatant commands to practice and refine tactics, techniques and procedures to defend the United States.
Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
Flight test results will help to improve and refine the performance of numerous BMD elements that will be used to provide a defense against the type of long-range ballistic missile that could be used to attack an American city with a weapon of mass destruction, according to MDA.