Wednesday, January 26, 2011

U.S. 2nd Fleet Ships Complete Successful Ballistic Missile Defense Tracking Exercise

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Three Commander, U.S. Second Fleet ships successfully completed a tracking exercise Jan. 22, off the coast of Virginia using the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system during Atlantic Trident 2011.

USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) all successfully tracked the short-range ballistic missile target that was launched from NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. The target missile fell harmlessly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Monterey, an Aegis cruiser, and Ramage, an Aegis destroyer, took turns tracking and simulating engagement of the target while Gonzalez, a guided-missile destroyer, participated by tracking the target.

All three ships were able to successfully track the target, with Monterey and Ramage providing simulated target solutions that would have resulted in a successful intercept. No missiles were fired from the ships as it was a tracking exercise.

Ballistic missile defense is a Navy core mission. The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy have modified 21 Aegis BMD combatants (5 cruisers and 16 destroyers). Of the 21 ships, 16 are assigned to the Pacific Fleet and five to the Atlantic Fleet. The Secretary of Defense announced in 2010 that six more destroyers would be upgraded to the Aegis BMD capability.

Atlantic Trident 2011 is the first live Fleet Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) exercise to take place in the Atlantic.