White Sands, New Mexico, USA: In a successful first test of its advanced fire control system, Lockheed Martin's Aegis Open Architecture Weapon System recently performed a successful missile firing from the US Navy's "USS Desert Ship" at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).
This was the first test of upgrades to both the Aegis Fire Control System and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) installed on the USS Desert Ship, the Navy's land-based, live-fire test bed for surface-to-air weapons.
The platform is continually upgraded to meet the Navy's live fire testing requirements.
The WSMR Aegis Fire Control System upgrade is a tailored commercial off-the-shelf equipment suite built by Lockheed Martin that incorporates Aegis Open Architecture computer programme products. The WSMR system uses weapon control; common sensor and tracker services; SPY-1 radar; and command and decision computer programme modules which are part of the Aegis Open Architecture system that will be installed on Aegis-equipped cruisers as part of the US Navy's Cruiser Modernization programme.
The MK 41 Vertical Launching System Baseline VII installed at WSMR is the version of the below-deck missile launching system employed on US Navy destroyers beginning with the USS Pinkney (DDG-91).
The Baseline VII's installation at WSMR provides full commonality with the latest fleet systems.
"This live firing further demonstrates the readiness of Aegis Open Architecture," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. "The systems engineering and methodical testing at WSMR provides greater assurance to the fleet that the next generation of Aegis - Aegis Open Architecture - will perform."
Aegis Open Architecture will allow the Navy to stay on technology's leading edge through its innovative use of commonly-available commercial off-the-shelf computing hardware and open system software, enabling the service to more easily implement technology refreshes and capability upgrades to the weapon system as they are developed in the future.
USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) will be the first of 22 cruisers scheduled for modernization with Aegis Open Architecture when it begins its depot modernization period in February 2008. In 2012, the Navy will begin a similar modernization program for the 62-ship class of Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke destroyers.
The road to Aegis Open Architecture included extensive systems engineering to reconfigure Aegis with commercial off-the-shelf computing hardware and open system software. The end result is a weapon system that can absorb frequent technology refreshes and can readily accept upgrades in capabilities, whether they are accomplished through new development or through the integration of separately developed third party products.
The Aegis Weapon System is the world's premier naval surface defence system. It seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, SM-2 and SM-3 missiles and the weapon system's command and control system.
The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 85 ships around the globe with more than 20 additional ships planned or under contract.
In addition to the US, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain.