Home » Aviation » USNI News Video: What is Aegis Ashore?


USNI News Video: What is Aegis Ashore?

In May, the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency activated a maritime radar about 200 miles away from any saltwater.

The Lockheed Martin SPY-1D radar is installed in Deveselu, Romania and is the heart of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system built on systems found on the Navy’s guided missile cruisers and destroyers.

“I’m using the exact same weapon system as a ship,” Navy Capt. Jeff Weston told USNI News in 2013.

The radar is paired with three, 8-cell Mark-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) armed with Raytheon Standard Missile 3 ballistic missile interceptors for the Aegis Ashore system.

Aegis Ashore and the European Phased Adaptive Approach concept. Radio Free Europe Graphic

Aegis Ashore and the European Phased Adaptive Approach concept. Radio Free Europe Graphic

In 2009, the Obama administration crafted the European Phased Adaptive Approach for ballistic missile defense (BMD). As part of the plan, the site in Romania will be followed one in Poland that will use the same systems and work in tandem with four destroyers based in Rota, Spain that will patrol European seas.

“To put it simply, our new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s Allies. It is more comprehensive than the previous program; it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost-effective; and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats; and it ensures and enhances the protection of all our NATO Allies,” President Obama said in 2009.

  • Marauder 2048

    Build more, please

  • Curtis Conway

    “I’m using the exact same weapon system as a ship,”. Huhhm!? How long have I been saying this. Three half-modules full of missiles that only work exo-atmosphere, and a new baseline load. A very robust defensive capability that threatens the Russian?

    • According to the description the AN/SPY-1 doesn’t play much of a search and detect role. Let us hope that the queues are sufficiently accurate for SPY to acquire and send some command guidance uplinks. Launching on remote is one thing, but remote all the way is just making it up (and probably a waste of ammunition). Ivan has nothing to fear. SM-3 is a dinky little missile. It won’t catch anything. The best it can do is to get in the way.
      ICBMs will overfly the SM-3 engagement space.

      • Curtis Conway

        Are you a AN/SPY Radar-man sir?

        • Diogenes is a cynic – and that’s all he is willing to admit to in the current political climate. Those who oppose the Sophists will be made to drink from Socrates’ cup. Judge for yourself sir!

          • Curtis Conway

            The capabilities of a non-rotating 3D radar boggle the mind when one realizes that all AESA radars are software driven, and the GFE already exists to give significant and valuable capability to the new units, even to small boys at lower power transmissions.

          • Phased Array Radars are truly amazing. Merrill Skolnik once asked (circa. 1985) why the Russians were building major combatants (i.e. Kirov, Moskva) without multi-function phased array radars; after all, they build very large MPARs for missile defense. He then went on to speculate what could be done with high rotation rate low-mass reflectors and stacked beams (for a fraction of the cost of a single array). Perhaps the integrated SPQ-9B in AMDR bears out the wisdom of Skolnik’s approach.

          • Curtis Conway

            Love that pairing, and the wisdom of using it on our major surface combatants. However, a rotation rate limits some capabilities that exist only in the fixed array face employment method. A SPY Tech can tell you all about it.

            If the 9-RMA AN/SPY-6(V) is purchased in quantity and placed on all ships, we would basically have a world of fire control quality date from every vessel in its tracking domain. That’s huge. Think of the passive side capabilities and what it could do in certain operational regimes.

          • Stationary phased arrays have some difficulties. Beam steering loss and aperture fill time being among them. Even though stationary phased arrays can achieve large apertures, aperture fill time limits their bandwidth (not beamwidth which normally comes to mind) for off boresight targets to the point that it becomes detrimental to resolving BMD type target characteristics. Creative waveforms allow for resolution to be recovered, but before that type of processing was available, we just rotated the entire array to keep the targets broadside (Cobra Judy as an example). The limited space aboard ship restricts aperture size and the need for multiple arrays increases cost. A single array or at most two arrays placed creatively with respect to a low mass high speed rotating reflector (most likely enclosed within a Radome) could schedule beams when the target is broadside to the reflector, thereby eliminating aperture fill time (for the most part). The phased arrays could be compensated for ship motion so that the reflector would only need to rotate in azimuth in the deck plane. There are tricks that can be played with polarization that would govern which side of the reflector reflects, so full hemispheric coverage can be maintained.
            BTW networked sensors is another bit of sophistry of which I will remain skeptical.

          • Curtis Conway

            Encoding handles most of that. New radar technologies make it possible to do many things that once was considered science fiction.

  • scotfahey

    Wallops island test range, shore based. No chance of getting sea sick. Polish was my language (CT, speak) now a duty station it can be used at

  • Ed L

    Will Aegis shore base system be built in HI, Guam, CA. WA state, Florida, NC, VA, MA, MI, WY, NEW England?

    • Australia may buy it

      • Secundius

        As of 27 May 2015, the Australians are Leaning towards the SM-6 missile at ~$3-Million USD per Missile. As opposed to the SM-3 missile costing between ~$20 to ~$24-Million USD per Missile…

        • I mean land-based ABM

          • Secundius

            SAME MISSILE! Its a Matter of Cost per Missile, the Australians CAN’T Afford the SM-3 Missile System…

  • John B. Morgen

    More Aegis sites should be built in; one of the Baltic NATO nation-states; and also, in Britain, Norway and Iceland; maybe one in northern Canada.

    • Secundius

      Estonia is planning to Build a BMD system, but at the moment it’s a matter of Cost. Estonia has a Small Population, and are probably going to need Exterior Funding to Build the System (aka the USA).

      Canada, is Modifying Several of the Older DEW Line Radar Sites with BMD’s.

      Britain, is going to use a Version of the SAMPSON system, currently being considered for their Type 45 Destroyers.

      Norway, just purchased FIVE Spanish “Alvaro de Bazan” F-100 Frigates, that use the AN/SPY-1D radar system. A “Possible” Northern Arctic Land-based system is being considered as of 17 June 2015. But Location has yet to be “Set In Stone”.

      And Iceland’s, population is less then 400,000. And ANY System would have to Foreign Manned and Financed. Current system in place is an ELINT system…

      • John B. Morgen

        I thought the SAMPSON system was already in use on the Type 45 destroyers.

        • Secundius

          The Sampson, was installed of the Lead Ship of the Type 45 class (the 4501). ALL Others will be equipped with a 3-D version of the Sampson called the S1850M…

          • John B. Morgen

            The Royal Navy is known of operating 3D radar systems before because they have used them on some of their aircraft carriers from the post-World War II era.

          • Secundius

            The British Carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, are “Ear Marked” for the S1850M 3-D radar system too. Now all they need are the Bk.1’s (F/AV35B’s) to “Flesh Out” the Flight Deck and Hanger Spaces…

          • John B. Morgen

            It will take about a year or two to received their F-35Bs.

          • Secundius

            Until that time? Ther 70,600-tonne Gator-Freighters…

          • John B. Morgen

            That is one way the Royal Navy could use them, or the Royal Navy could lend them to us. It would [not] be the first time that the United States Navy has used Royal Navy warships before during the Post-World War II era. The Royal Navy lend us three supply/store ships (AFS), then later we bought them….

          • Secundius

            One Problem though? The Lend Lease Act of March 1941, suspended the Jones Act of 1920 for the Duration of WW2. Unless you want the Reinstate the Lend Lease Act, to Circumvent to Jones Act again. Or Modify and/or Get Rid of the Jones Act…

          • John B. Morgen

            Three British AFS were the HMS Lyness, Tarbatness, Stromness, from the Royal Fleet Auxiliaries (RFA). Lyness was first acquired in 1981 on a “bare-boat charter for one year. On March 1, 1982, Lyness was purchased by the Navy. Tarbatness was acquired by the Navy in 1981, under the same charter; and was later purchased on September 30, 1982. The Stromness was acquired on October 1, 1983. All three ships were renamed Sirus, Spica and Saturn. As for Jones Act, it was either sideline, amend, or removed off the books, but the Navy got them to filled in a gap of the Navy’s supply system during the 1980’s.

          • Secundius

            Part I of the Jones Act, allows Coastal Ship Purchases (Green Water). Part II of the Jones Act, allows “Bareboat” Charter from Foreign Governments…

          • John B. Morgen

            Is there a Part III for foreign warship purchases within the Jones Act?

          • Secundius

            NOT Directly. But Part II “Bareboat” Classification Qualifies. Unarmed at Purchase, and Fitted Out HERE (the USA)…

          • John B. Morgen

            All right. Is there any part the regulates the purchases of foreign warships of the Jones Act?

          • Secundius

            A “Coastal Ship” in 1920 Definition, have a Different Meaning in 2016. Consider BOTH the JHSV’s class and LCS’s class…

          • John B. Morgen

            These vessels are [not] coastal but rather short range ocean-going vessels, something equivalent to the ocean-going gun boats of the USS Erie class (PG-50). As for the JHSV class warships, they are reminiscent of the high speed transport (APD) concept of World war II, whereby a few old destroyers were converted into fast troop transports.

          • Secundius

            They have JHSV’s in Australia and Hong Kong being Used As High Speed Ferries (Coastal). And Yet, BOTH the JHSV/LCS classes have Made Pacific Ocean crossings. The “Klingon” Question…

          • John B. Morgen

            Both classes have to refuel three or four times in order to reach Asia from the west coast of the United States. No, these warships are [not] battlecruisers, however, both of them fit into a sloop or corvette category.

          • Secundius

            Not my point! By 1920 Standards, the LCS would be classified as a Destroyer by Tonnage. Both are Green Water classified, and yet traversed the Pacific Ocean Alone. No Flo-Flo Transport Ship involved in the Delivery Process. Terminology of the 1920’s, take on a Different Meaning by 2016 Standards…

          • John B. Morgen

            You are referring to the Washington Naval Disarmament Treaty of 1922, and yes the LCS would be classified as a destroyer. A destroyer class that ranks next to the post-World War II destroyers, but equaled to that of large French destroyers of the Chacal, Guepard, Aigle, Vauquelin, Le Fantasque and Mogador classes for long range operations. The French built the largest destroyers during the pre-World War II era, although the French Navy had built lighter tonnage destroyers equaled to that to standard [tonnage] destroyers during the era of the times.

          • Secundius

            You’re STILL NOT Getting It, Sir? What applied to 1920 Standards, NO LONGER applies to 2016 Standards. A Ship built in 2016, can’t be Classified by 1920 Definition, Because the Definition DIDN’T EXIST in 1920…

          • John B. Morgen

            Give me a minute. There are no standards for 2016. It is like the “Wild West” as far surface warships are concern, with some exceptions like minesweepers.

          • Secundius

            The “Standard” is the the Interpretation of the Writing. The Montreux Convention of 1936, States NO Aircraft Carriers. But the TERM Through-Deck Cruiser DIDN’T Exist in 1936. or Naval Artillery with Bore Diameters Greater than 8-inches. Missiles, are Considered Naval Artillery…

          • John B. Morgen

            The “through-deck cruiser” did existed but only on drafting tables during the 1930’s, but none were built. Probably because the “brown shoe” of the Navy rejected the concept—they wanted full flight deck carriers, not half deck carriers. Furthermore, the Navy had adhered to the Washington Naval Treaty’s aircraft carrier restrictions by tonnage, which limited the number of hulls could be built. As for missiles, missiles were never around during naval treaty era, it was really during World War Two that missiles and rockets were used as artillery.

          • Secundius

            “Congreve Rockets”!/?

          • John B. Morgen

            Yes indeed, I forgotten all about them. Rockets armed explosives that were used by the British at the War of 1812, India, and New Zealand.

          • Secundius

            Also “Hale Rockets” and “Mysorean Rockets”…

        • it is and in a medium-term future, Royal Navy will have ASTER-30s that can shoot down at least IRBMs

          • John B. Morgen

            Short or long term such missile systems are going to be the next major defense issue for Britain to handle—next decade.

    • UK will probably work with France on the ASTER 30 naval and land-based version. UK won’t get the ABM missiles but will install a radar.

      • Secundius

        Italy, is the Third Member of the Aster 30 Ballistic Defense Missile system…

      • John B. Morgen

        However, it is still possible for Britain to buy the ABMs.

    • Secundius

      The Joint British and American BMD systems are to be Located in Snod Hill, England, Greenland, Alaska, Yorkshire, New Jersey, New York, and Trinidad. The British system is Called “Fylingdale Flyer” after a Jethro Tull song…

      • John B. Morgen

        You’d would think one BMD system be located in Bermuda; instead, in Trinidad…

        • Secundius

          Trinidad, use to be a British Colony until 1962. But IT’S STILL a British Protectorate…

          • John B. Morgen

            Bermuda is a lot closer to us than Trinidad,,,,

          • Secundius

            Depends on What Britain’s National Security Interests Are In the Area, other then other Former Commonwealth Island (Nation States)…

          • John B. Morgen

            Right now, I don’t think we really know what’s going on at White Hall; especially, what has just happen recently about Britain leaving the EU—things are up in the air as I see it.

          • Secundius

            There IS NO White Hall Admiralty House, anymore! ALL Five Buildings were bought by te Saudi Government for about 200-Million Pounds Sterling in 2014…

          • John B. Morgen

            I was [NOT] aware about this real estate purchase by the Saudis, so where did the British Admiralty moved to?

          • Secundius

            Naval Command HQ, Whale Island, Portsmouth (50(deg)48’53.7″N, 1(deg)05’59.0″W)…

          • John B. Morgen

            Portsmouth is a very old British naval base since the days of the [mast], and also a good naval museum there; plus, warships such the HMS Victory and Warrior opened to the Public.

          • Secundius

            BOTH HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, are “Yellowed” at the Portsmouth Dockyards, Hampshire, England. Which is the Naval Home of the Royal Maritime Museum. HMS Warrior in 1987 and HMS Victory in 2012…

  • Andre

    Why is Aegis Ashore being built in Europe instead of Israel, the Gulf States or Japan?

    • Secundius

      The Saudi’s have 4 or 5 Systems in place, based around the Patriot Missile using the Barak-8 Missile.

      Israel have Their Own System, also using the Barak-8 as well as India.

      And Japan, are using the PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability) and their own Missile Design. As Well As Taiwan…

      • Andre

        The entire rationale for limited national missile defense in the United States is to protect it from nuclear blackmail and small numbers of ICBMs launched either accidentally or by a rogue state or commander. The United States has been threatened by North Korea and continues to be, however, when has Iran threatened Europe with ICBMs (nuclear or conventional)?
        Russia was not pleased with the American withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, but seemed relatively content with the restricted scope of the MDA. However, Russia is very concerned at the prospect of anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in East-Central Europe, far closer to its borders. In the event of a Russia-NATO conflict, Aegis Ashore can degrade Russian nuclear strikes on NATO targets throughout Western Europe, even though the UK and France possess SLBMs, and the UK, France and the United States all have air-deliverable tactical nuclear weapons.
        Given that Iran’s rivals include Israel and the Gulf Arab states, wouldn’t it be more prudent to base Aegis Ashore in the Middle East? Are the Aegis ABM-equipped warships serving in NATO not enough to deal with an unlikely attack by Iran?

        • Secundius

          But then again, it Might have something to do with Putin having Hand-Written Letters to Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and Finland with “Nuclear Annihilation” if the Joined the Ballistic Missile Defense System on March 2015…

          • Andre

            Then the system would be expressly deployed against Russia, and therefore require a much broader scope, vastly more funding and a strategy to deal with Russian countermeasures including penetration aids as well as its own ABM development. Basically this would mean a return to the SDI in earnest…

          • Secundius

            I would think being Threatened with Nuclear Annihilation FROM that Country would do that. Aiming your 3-D Phased Array Radar in the Direction of THAT Threat…

  • RobM1981

    Good article, doing a nice job of explaining the situation.

    So, uhm… if you go to one of the online “great circle mappers” and plot the ballistic path from, say, Tehran to Paris… it doesn’t go anywhere near Poland.

    I realize that Aegis is a defensive system, but it is also destabilizing. From a detente’ perspective, the Mutual part of MAD is essential. Would the USA respond well to an ABM system being deployed to Cuba or Kaliningrad?

    The system could be made mobile. We already have it on a mobile platform, called a Destroyer. Building the infrastructure to quickly deploy a modular, mobile system in Poland would be far less provocative.

    Romania? Yes. It and Turkey are definitely in the path of Iran. Greece? Sure – it’s not as if other threats from west of Iran, including Syria, are out of the question. Even if it was just the staging for a quick deployment, Greece makes sense.

    But Poland?

    Sell Poland F-35’s, for air defense, but save Aegis for the Iranian threat.