USS Ramage

Since the program began, Aegis BMD has been concentrated on the West Coast and with the FDNF.  Now, however, two more ships – this time on the East Coast, have undergone the modifications and one, the USS RAMAGE (DDG 61) has begun a deployment with the SM-3 Blk1a missile onboard (full article here): 

“She is loaded,” said Rear Adm. Alan Hicks, program director for Aegis ballistic missile defense, in a teleconference with reporters. “She can search and track for cueing; she can do engagements of exoatmospheric threats; and she can defend herself against air threats. That is our definition of fully mission-capable.”. . . On top of the enhanced software to track and target airborne ballistic missiles, the big arrow is the Standard Missile-3, which can make an intercept in space, at 100 miles above sea level.

Besides USS Stout, the other East Coast BMD destroyer, there are 16 other BMD capable Aegis cruisers and destroyers – Lake Erie, Port Royale and Shiloh on the cruiser side, and the Burke-class destroyers Benfold, Russell, Paul Hamilton, O’Kane, J.S. MacCain, Hopper, Higgins, Stethem, Curtis Wilbur, Decatur, Milius, Fitzgerald and John Paul Jones; all home-ported on the West Coast or with the FDNF in Japan.  As we’ve argued before – more are needed, especially in light of the growing proliferation, horizontal and vertical, of ballistic missiles.  Added ships will increase coverage, flexibility and presence in the employment of sea-based BMD from the maritime commons :

 

“I believe, near-term, that we need an additional four to six Atlantic Fleet ships in order to give the necessary flexibility to the fleet commander to keep the presence forward,” Hicks said.

Earlier in the summer, coincidentally at a time when war tensions between Iran and Israel were flaring, two Pacific-based BMD destroyers, the Benfold and the Russell, conducted a communications system test – not missile intercepts – in the Middle East.  The exercise was described as a test of the rapid exchange of information between the two fleets, via satellite, as well as information from ground-based sensors.  Benfold, in the Persian Gulf, and Russell, in the Mediterranean, worked “with one another in detecting, tracking, sharing information and engaging a simulated ballistic missile by sharing data via a number of paths,” according to information from 6th Fleet in Italy. 

“We expect when Ramage arrives in theater, between commander, 6th Fleet, and commander, 5th Fleet, to continue that level of exercises across areas of responsibility to further refine operational procedures,” Hicks said.

Now, about that fully integrated and combined air and missile defense concept

1 Comment

  1. SJBill

    SJS-
    There’s a message in there, and I love that message.
    I’m sure Ivanmahmoud gets it too,or will at some time in the future.

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