PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- Nov. 19, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program Office recognized Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme Division (PHD) for its continued key role in research, development, and testing of ballistic missile defense systems by presenting a Standard Missile (SM) 3 model to the command.
Addressing the audience, Rear Adm. Kathleen K. Paige, Aegis BMD program director and past chief engineer for the command stated, "Today, we're recognizing the huge step in our ongoing quest." She went on to note NSWC PHD's contributions through its expert skills, robust experience, and heritage of supporting combat systems and Sailors at sea.
The long history of support to the Aegis and Standard Missile Programs by NSWC PHD has made its involvement in Missile Defense Agency systems a seamless transition from previous command efforts in BMD projects such as the Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile (LEAP) experiments, and the Navy Theater Wide and Navy Area programs. This includes the early LEAP Standard Missile firing from USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20), which launched the Navy into the era of sea-based ballistic missile defense through Aegis BMD Flight Mission (FM) 6, just completed in December, and preparations for FM-7 in 2005.
The SM-3, an evolution of the Standard Missile family, is a four-stage rocket launched from the Aegis Weapons System Vertical Launch System. The fourth stage-the Kinetic Warhead-is equipped with its own propulsion, a long wave infrared seeker, and a guidance and control system enabling it to acquire, track, discriminate, divert and intercept a ballistic missile target above the earth's atmosphere.
The Aegis Program has a distinguished history of increasing the Air Defense Warfare envelope of the Aegis Weapons System to defeat increasingly sophisticated threats through sound engineering practices and rigorous testing. The proud philosophy of "build a little, test a little, learn a lot" has served the Aegis fleet well in providing increased capability to defeat air threats from supersonic to subsonic/stealthy cruise missiles. This philosophy is one of the reasons why Aegis is recognized throughout the world as the preeminent Air Defense Combat System.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense is an element of the BMDs that takes advantage of the mature and operationally proven Aegis Combat System to detect short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles using the SM-3.
The Aegis Weapons System is key to the BMD system, including the S-band AN/SPY-1 radar that can detect, track, and discriminate a ballistic missile target, guide the SM-3 into a small error basket and allow the SM-3's seeker to track and discriminate the target for a hit-to-kill intercept. Aegis BMD's two primary missions are to provide surveillance and tracking in direct support of the BMD system, as part of a Homeland Defense Mission and also engagement, utilizing the SM-3 to intercept short to intermediate range ballistic missiles.
During the course of the past decade, NSWC PHD has been responsible for leading ballistic missile defense testing in ships such as USS Richmond K. Turner (CG 20), USS Jouett (CG 29), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Russel (DDG 59), USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Vicksburg (CG 69), USS Lake Erie (CG 70), and USS Port Royal (CG 73).
The command's efforts have helped successfully demonstrate the ability of the Aegis Weapon System to detect, track, and engage ballistic missiles in the upper atmosphere and in the exo-atmosphere; and have directly led to the successful integration of this new mission area into the Navy.
"They said it couldn't be done. We've done transformation. We used ingenuity and transformed the inside of this missile. It's the people here at NSWC PHD that do things with real weapons and ships," stated retired Rear Adm. Wayne Meyer, past chief engineer at NSWC PHD, and former project manager, Aegis Shipbuilding, the largest, longest continuously running warship building program in U.S. Naval History.
For related news, visit the Naval Sea Systems Command Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/navsea.