Navy, Warfare Centers
Critical for Nation's Ballistic Missile Defense
By Troy Clarke and Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Okula, Naval Surface Warfare
Center Corona Public Affairs.
Norco, California -- September 13, 2013 -- (NNS)
-- The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona delivered its first quick-look
analysis Sept. 13 of the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) test earlier this week,
kicking off the collaborative assessment process for the first operational test
of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
Standard Missile-3 (SM-3)
Block 1A interceptor launched from the USS Decatur (DDG 73)
The test, named Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01), took
place near the Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site and surrounding areas in
the western Pacific and marked the first time combatants in different regions
defended against near-simultaneous ballistic missile launches.
During the test, MDA successfully integrated Navy destroyer
USS Decatur (DDG 73) with the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
system and a space-based infrared detection system.
"This was a great feat for our Navy and the nation as we move
toward an operational ballistic missile defense system," said Capt. Eric Ver
Hage, commanding officer of NSWC Corona, a Naval Sea Systems Command field
activity based in Norco. His command served as the lead analysis and assessment
agent of the Navy's system in the test - Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) -
providing missile telemetry and combat system data collection.
The USS Decatur used its Aegis Weapon System to track and intercept one
MRBM target by THAAD, and one Aegis BMD
To conduct the test, MDA launched two medium-range ballistic
missile targets in close sequence toward Kwajalein.
An Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control
(AN/TPY-2) radar detected the target and relayed track information to the
Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system, which
integrated, analyzed and synchronized combatants to formulate a real-time threat
response among participating units.
The crew of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Decatur provided
the Navy's operational element, tracking and intercepting the first target
missile with a missile of its own - a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA.
Soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment provided the
Army's operational element, using the THAAD system to intercept the second
Aboard Decatur, NSWC Port Hueneme's Aegis BMD personnel
extracted data from the ship's system, which subsequently traveled on Corona's
innovative mini-Ku band satellite back to shore. The mini-Ku system cuts data
transmission time by more than 95 percent from earlier versions, sending all
missile telemetry and Aegis combat system data to the warfare center's Joint
Warfare Assessment Laboratory (JWAL) where analysts from gathered to provide
live monitoring of test data.
Initial data indicated the test elements performed as
designed, but MDA officials have ongoing evaluations using the test data,
starting with Corona's quick-look analysis.
"NSWC Corona will collaborate with the MDA Joint Analysis
Team and Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force to provide an overall
assessment of the BMDS from both an engineering and an operational perspective,"
said Tony Jones, NSWC Corona's Aegis BMD assessment lead.
As a core mission for the Navy, Aegis BMD capability defeats
short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats with SM-3, as well as
short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the Standard Missile-2
Since the 1970s, Corona's sister division at NSWC Dahlgren
has been intimately involved in the development, test, certification and
fielding of almost every new baseline of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS),
providing an integrated system that supports warfare on several fronts - air,
surface, subsurface and strike.
At sea, the Navy has 28 Aegis BMD combatants - five
Ticonderoga Class Cruisers and 23 Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyers - with 16
assigned to the Pacific Fleet and 12 to the Atlantic Fleet. MDA and the Navy
plan to increase the number of BMD-capable ships to 30 by the end of 2013.
"As a former ship's captain, I'm excited by the positive
results we're seeing," Ver Hage said. "Corona has been providing independent
assessment of guided missile systems for nearly 50 years, and the progress our
military is making toward building a comprehensive ballistic missile defense
system is truly remarkable. It's an awesome capability we absolutely need."
As part of the Navy's Science and Engineering Enterprise,
NSWC Corona leads the Navy in independent assessment, measurement and
calibration standards and range systems engineering. The warfare center is home
to three premier laboratories and assessment centers - the JWAL, the Measurement
Science and Technology Lab, and the Daugherty Memorial Assessment Center -and
employs approximately 2,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support
personnel at its headquarters in Norco and at its detachment at Seal Beach,