Most of US Navy’s Newest Aegis-equipped Destroyers are Being Deployed to Asia

By | Jan 11, 2017 10:03 AM EST

USS John Finn, an Aegis Baseline 9 destroyer. (Photo : US Navy)

The U.S. Navy is deploying most of its guided missile destroyers outfitted with the latest version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), a unified combatant command of the United States armed forces that will command any war in Asia.

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The latest evolution of Aegis BMD or the Aegis Weapons System is Aegis Baseline 9, a centralized, automated, command-and-control (C2) and weapons control system designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill.

The heart of the system is the AN/SPY-1, an advanced, automatic detect and track, multi-function phased-array radar. This high-powered radar is able to perform search, track, and missile guidance functions simultaneously, with a track capacity of more than 100 targets.

When paired with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare.

Baseline 9 is only deployed on U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers; Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and select guided missile destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Republic of Korea Navy.

In mid-2014, five Ticonderoga class cruisers and 25 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers were equipped with the Aegis BMD. Of these 30 ships, 16 are assigned to the United States Pacific Fleet (a component command of USPACOM) and 14 to the Atlantic Fleet. Those numbers have certainly risen since then.

The Navy is modernizing the existing Aegis technology aboard its warships and also including upgrades into ships now being built. These new upgrades are designed to build upon Baseline 9.

The upgrades will allow Aegis to be used to defend warships against missile attack and allow Navy missiles to be used as long-range anti-ship missiles.

Using Aegis, which was first designed as a defensive system, as an offensive system to sink surface warships supports the Navy's new warfighting strategy called distributed lethality.

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