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Aegis upgrade fitted on USS Bunker Hill

By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin's new Aegis Open Architecture Weapon System has been fitted in the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill -- CG 52.

The Aegis upgrade system was fitted on schedule Aug. 25, the company announced last week in a statement.

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Lockheed Martin said the new Aegis system employs easily purchased "commercial off-the-shelf computing hardware and open system software."

This COTS hardware and open system software are designed to make future upgrades of the system far easier and cheaper to install, the company said.

"Aegis modernization extends the sea-going horizon for the Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense Systems line of business.

"As Aegis was when it first went to sea, Aegis remains the most capable multi-mission naval weapon system in the world. Open architecture will allow the Aegis program to continue evolving the world's most capable integrated air and missile defense system to remain a step ahead of any threat," Carvalho said.

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Lockheed Martin said the new Aegis Open Architecture was going to be installed on another 21 U.S. Navy cruisers during their modernization upgrades over the next decade. In 2012, the Navy plans to launch a parallel upgrade program for its 62 Arleigh Burke class -- DDG 51 -- guided missile destroyers that also carry the Aegis system.

Lockheed Martin said the Aegis Weapon System remained "the world's premier proven naval defense system and the sea-based element of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System."

Aegis employs a precision S-band SPY-1 radar integrated with Standard Missiles. "Its ability to detect, track and engage targets, ranging from sea-skimming cruise missiles to ballistic missiles in space, is unmatched, as demonstrated by thousands of successful missile firings in tests and in combat," the company said.

The Aegis Weapon System remains operational on 88 warships worldwide and is scheduled to be fitted on another 18 warships "planned or under contract," Lockheed Martin said. Aegis is also operated by Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain, the company said.


SM-6 hits target in second test

Raytheon announced Friday that its Standard Missile-6 extended-range anti-air warfare missile, which also has a cruise missile interception capability, was successfully test-fired that day for the second time.

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The SM-6 was equipped with a new active seeker, and it successfully hit and destroyed a BQM-74 unmanned aerial vehicle or drone, the company said.

"The SM-6 integrates the legacy standard missile airframe and semi-active guidance technology with the power of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile active seeker," said Louis Moncada, Raytheon Missile Systems' SM-6 program director.

"Today's test demonstrated this capability at low altitudes," Moncada said.

Raytheon said the SM-6 offered "advanced anti-air warfare and over-the-horizon capabilities against aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The over-the-horizon capabilities allow the missile to engage a target beyond the ship's line of sight."

"The SM-6 program continues to move forward on budget and on schedule," said Kirk Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command Standard Missile program manager. "Combining the legacy SM-2 Block IV capability with the AMRAAM's active seeker is a true accomplishment."


ATK wins $97M MSST contract from U.S. Navy

Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, said Tuesday it had won a new $97 million U.S. Navy contract to produce the Multi-Stage Supersonic Target.

ATK said in a statement it would carry out "the design, development, integration and test" of the MSST for the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md. In all, the eventual value of the contract could reach $103 million, the company said. It said design and development was scheduled to be finished by October 2012. ATK said it also anticipated the possibility of follow-on production awards until 2022.

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The company said the MSST would present anti-ballistic missile interceptors with the challenge they would face from a two-stage anti-ship cruise missile. The target would comprise "a two-stage unmanned aerial target, a launcher and associated support equipment," ATK said.

ATK said the U.S. Navy would employ the new target to check out its weapons/combat systems in action facing "next-generation surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles that cruise at subsonic speeds, initiate a separation event, and then make a supersonic dash to the intended target."

The company said it would work with CEi of Sacramento, Calif., to create two engineering evaluation units and seven engineering development models.

The company described the MSST as "the foundation for (its) targets and anti-ship missile strategy." The project will be carried out in Sacramento; Woodland Hills, Calif.; Plymouth, Minn.; Elkton, Md.; and Wichita, Kan., it said.

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