New Missile Defense Test Site Planned in Hawaii

Media Release:

The United States is expected in 2013 to begin work on a new testing and training installation in Hawaii for a land-based variant of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, Aviation Week reported (see GSN, Jan. 25).

“There will be an Aegis Ashore facility in Hawaii,” said James Sheridan, U.S. Navy Aegis programs director for defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The Obama administration plans to adapt the ship-based Aegis missile interceptor system for deployment on land, in part to help safeguard U.S. and NATO forces in Europe from medium- and short-range ballistic missile strikes, according to a previous report.

The Navy wants to tap Aegis system features for following potential air-based threats to also hone in on enemy ballistic missiles, Lockheed Martin Maritime BMD Programs Vice President Lisa Callahan said. The Navy and the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency intend to assign certain Aegis warships to shoot down potential enemy missiles after their boost phase of flight.

“The Navy has embraced ballistic missile defense,” Callahan said. “The focus is on integrating air and missile defense.”

The planned test site would support work to vet and improve Aegis defenses while Lockheed Martin pursues enhancements to the technology’s ship-protection features, she added.

“We are keeping pace with the threats,” Callahan said, “which are becoming more and more complex” (Michael Fabey, Aviation Week, Feb. 10).