Lockheed Martin is not currently studying adding an anti-air warfare (AAW) capability to the Navy’s two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense (BMD) installations in Romania and Poland for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the company said on Thursday correcting comments made by a company official last week during a briefing on the program.
In a statement, the company said its official misspoke and the comments were based on dated information.
“Lockheed Martin is not under any taking by the MDA to implement AAW at this time for Aegis Ashore,” read the statement.
“Aegis Ashore is BMD only.”
The company did conduct a classified study on adding AAW for MDA in 2010, MDA told USNI News on Thursday.
While the company is not currently studying the AAW question, members in Congress have raised the question with MDA and the Department of Defense.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) asked about the capability for the Aegis Ashore sites to defend themselves against air attacks in light of Russia’s increased activity in Europe.
“I think it is a very important signal to send that we intend to protect that site and that there are consequences to the aggressive behavior we’ve seen recently,” he said during a March 19 missile defense hearing before the House Armed Services Committee.
Last week, Lockheed officials indicated the modifications to the sites would not be hard.
“We think it wouldn’t not be tremendously difficult because that’s the same configuration we’re delivering to destroyers today,” said Jim Sheridan, Director of AEGIS development for Lockheed Martin.
Aegis Ashore — created in conjunction with MDA and the Navy — uses the SPY-1D radar and the MK 41 vertical launch system tubes native to the Navy’s Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG) to detect and launch Standard Missile 3 interceptors to counter ballistic missile threats.
The first Aegis Ashore site in Romania is set to go online later this year.