Exclusive Look Inside an All-Star Missile Defense Team

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Ask any sports fan and they'll tell you: Strong teams have a strong defense. Read on to find out how this all-star missile defense lineup is keeping citizens, critical assets and deployed forces safe from current and future threats.

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Ask any sports fan and they will tell you: Strong teams have a strong defense.

When it comes to high stakes defense, nothing is more critical than missile defense. Destroying an incoming threat with impact from an intercepting missile, akin to a bullet hitting a bullet in mid-air, demands the highest degree of precision.

At Lockheed Martin, ballistic missile defense systems are designed to integrate and work together, layering systems to provide the highest quality of overall protection from any combination of threats. This layered defense keeps citizens, critical assets and deployed forces safe from current and future threats.

Now for the exclusive, let’s meet this all-star lineup!

USING SENSORS AND COMMUNICATIONS TO CONTROL THE OUTCOME

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At the heart of our layered defense is the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system. It connects all of the ballistic missile defense elements – across space, air, land and sea – into a single network.

C2BMC receives data and intelligence from hundreds of missile defense sensors, radars and satellites. In fact, the Missile Defense Agency’s newest radar, the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), will allow the warfighter to identify threats in flight and determine whether the threat is real or a decoy.

Remote sensing—the monitoring, observing and gathering of information on the Earth and atmosphere from space—can be used to help soldiers on the battlefield by tracking ‘hot spots’ of infrared light. The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO satellites include a scanning sensor that provides a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth, while the staring sensor can be tasked to observe smaller areas of interest with superior sensitivity

STOPPING A BALLISTIC MISSILE AT ITS PEAK

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After a ballistic missile is launched, it travels in a high, arcing path toward its target. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, which comprises the SPY-1 radar and MK 41 vertical launching system, can stop these hostile missiles in their tracks as they coast in space, both outside and inside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Aegis BMD also uses the Common Source Library, a system that allows rapid integration of new capabilities and processes across the fleet. And Aegis BMD is not limited to Navy ships – it’s adaptable and performs on land as Aegis Ashore.

Similar to Aegis, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) relies on its radar and launcher to provide 360-degree air and missile defense from short-and medium-range ballistic missiles, and its open architecture design allows assets from partner nations to integrate into the regional defense systems. Now that is teamwork! 

MEETING A THREAT HEAD-ON AT CLOSE RANGE

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As a threat begins its descent (or terminal phase), the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) missiles cut through the sky to intercept and eliminate the adversary.

THAAD, PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE all use “Hit-to-Kill” (HTK) technology which destroys a threat with body-to-body impact by the interceptor missile – releasing huge amounts of kinetic energy with extreme precision. Previous technology relied on blast fragmentation which often results in dangerous debris and is not lethal against weapons of mass destruction.

Joining the HTK pack, is the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MTHK) interceptor. Designed for the close range threats of rockets, artillery and mortars, the MHTK uses the same “Hit-to-Kill” technology to destroy a close-range threat without blast fragmentation.

Small and mighty, the two-feet and five pound MHTK provides game-changing protection in this challenging ballistic battlespace.