NAPLES, Italy -- The U.S. Navy will participate in a ballistic missile defense demonstration in Europe later this month, according to U.S. 6th Fleet.
Four U.S. ships will join forces from eight other countries for a test to be conducted before month's end under the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum, a coalition of 10 mostly European nations created in 1999 to coordinate missile defense efforts.
Part of the demonstration is interception of an unarmed ballistic missile fired from a U.K. range in the Outer Hebrides near Scotland, according to 6th Fleet. Participants must also defeat an anti-ship missile fired simultaneously from closer range. The Navy did not give the date or location of the demonstration, and it did not name the ships.
The exercise is meant to show how allies can coordinate against multiple missiles at one time, a concept known as integrated air and missile defense. The tactic relies on highly automated command-and-control systems, such as the Aegis weapons system installed on more than 30 Navy warships. The Navy uses the SM-3 missile to intercept ballistic missile targets.
The U.S. and NATO have been developing ballistic missile defense capabilities in Europe for more than a decade, citing the threat of Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The Navy recently stationed its fourth and final Aegis-equipped ship in Rota, Spain, part of the U.S.-developed missile shield known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach. It continues to build ground-based interceptor sites in Romania and Poland.
Russia says the interceptor sites threaten its own missiles, a claim the U.S. disputes.
The upcoming demonstration appears to be the first conducted by the Navy in Europe. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has conducted past ballistic missile defense tests at a range in Hawaii.
The members of the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum are the U.S., Canada, Australia, Spain, France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Italy. Australia will not participate in the upcoming test, according to the Navy.
NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) --
USS Ross (DDG 71) successfully intercepted a ballistic missile in the
North Atlantic Ocean during the Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD)
Forum's At Sea Demonstration (ASD) Oct. 20, 2015.
This is first time a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA guided interceptor was fired on a non-U.S. range and the first intercept of a ballistic missile threat in the European theater.
For the scenario, a short-range Terrier Orion ballistic missile target was launched from Hebrides Range and was inflight simultaneously with two anti-ship cruise missiles fired at the coalition task group. Ross fired a SM-3 and successfully engaged the ballistic missile target in space. In its air defense role, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) fired a SM-2, which is the first time a SM-2 was fired on the Hebrides Range.
"ASD-15 shows that with communication, collaboration and commitment nations can come together and flawlessly defend against a complex threat scenario."
- Vice Adm. James Foggo, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet
ASD-15 is a U.K.-hosted, U.S.-facilitated, multi-national demonstration of coalition Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability.
Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) is a process by which coalition ships and aircraft share information with each other to better defend themselves and coalition related assets against ballistic missile attacks.
There are a number of firsts associated with this event including:
First intercept of a ballistic missile target in the European theater
First SM-3 fired on a non-U.S. range
The first firing of an SM-2 and SM-3 on the Hebrides Range, United Kingdom
First use of multi-national beyond line of sight link architecture for IAMD purposes in the European theater
First international ship (Netherlands and Spain) transmissions of BMD cues to a U.S. BMD guided missile destroyer
First time coalition IAMD used in a scenario with simultaneous attack from anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.
This test demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the defense of Europe through our four Aegis ships forward deployed to Rota, Spain, and shore station in Romania.
The 10 MTMD Forum member nations are: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Eight nations provided ships and aircraft for ASD-15 including Canada, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States with Germany providing personnel to augment the Forum's multi-national Combined Task Group staff.
The tactical data link used in ASD-15 covers over 5.7 million square miles.
USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), flag ship for U.S. 6th Fleet, served as the viewing platform for officials representing participating coalition nations during ASD-15; delegates from seven MTMD Forum nations, Denmark, and Japan watched the missile intercept on a live video feed aboard the ship.
The Maritime Theater Missile Defense forum was established in 1999 as a co-operative body for participating navies to develop improved cooperation and promote interoperability in sea-based missile defense.
Link to: Adm. Mark Ferguson's Statement on Successful Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) At-Sea Demonstration: http://cne-cna-c6f.dodlive.mil/adm-mark-fergusons-statement-on-successful-integrated-air-and-missile-defense-iamd-at-sea-demonstration/
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.