challenge: how to meet the
demands of providing missile
defense for Europe while protecting against threats at home with
the limited assets that are available.
“One of the things that we’ve
worried about for years is, would
we have enough Aegis BMD-
equipped ships to be able to meet
the demands that might arise once
the BMD system proves itself?” the
MDA stated. “Now that the system
is in the fleet and judged opera-
tionally effective and suitable, the
demand has increased in response
to the growing BMD threat. We
have made increased investments
in regional missile defense to meet
the demand, and the phased adap-
tive approach allows for the flexi-
bility to address the most pressing
MDA expects the number of
Aegis BMD ships in the fleet will
grow into the 30s by fiscal 2013.
It costs $10 million to $15 million to equip and certify an Aegis
BMD ship for the first generation
of systems in the fleet today. The
second generation, which will support Phase 2 of the
phased adaptive approach when the basic sea-based
capability starts to move ashore, will cost $45 million
to $53 million per ship.
The Aegis BMD program’s fiscal 2011 budget
request includes $2.16 billion for development, operational testing, missile production, ship modification,
and certification and initial support of the 20 ships and
70 Raytheon Missile Systems-developed Standard
Missile-3s now in the operational inventory, according
to the MDA.
At some point, the agency wants to have a permanent system to provide missile defense: Aegis Ashore.
The Navy and MDA envision simply taking an Aegis
BMD system and placing it on land in strategic locations around Europe, an advantage over the ship-based
system as it will be a continuous presence and a cheaper alternative.
“BMD capability will remain on ships even when the
Aegis Ashore sites become operational,” the MDA state-
ment said. “The two systems will work together much
as two Aegis ships would do; together providing more
defense coverage, more shot opportunities and more
firepower to defeat missile attacks. Navy will continue
to operate the Aegis system when it is moved ashore.”
Lockheed Martin will work on a
plan for tailoring Aegis BMD for
ashore use, according to Nick Bucci,
the company’s director of Aegis
Ballistic Missile Defense develop-
ment programs, and Jim Sheridan,
director of Navy Aegis programs.
The Aegis-class destroyer USS
Hopper launches a Standard Missile-
3 Block IA during exercise Stellar
Avenger in the Pacific July 30, 2009,
successfully intercepting a sub-scale
short-range ballistic missile. It was
the 19th successful intercept for the
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program in 23 at-sea firings.