The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD or ABMD) is a United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency program developed to provide missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
It is part of the United States national missile defense strategy.
Aegis BMD (also known as Sea-Based Midcourse) is designed to intercept ballistic missiles post-boost phase and prior to reentry.
It enables warships to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles by expanding the Aegis Combat System with the addition of the AN/SPY-1 radar and Standard missile technologies.
Aegis BMD-equipped vessels can transmit their target detection information to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system and, if needed, engage potential threats using either the SM-2 or SM-3 missile.
Aegis BMD does not have the ability to intercept ICBMs, although future versions may allow limited intercept capability.
The current system uses the Lockheed Martin Aegis Weapon System and the Raytheon RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3).
Notable subcontractors and technical experts include Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Honeywell, Engility, Naval Surface Warfare Center, SPAWAR Systems Center, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (Lincoln Lab).
Japan is leaning towards choosing the Aegis Ashore missile-defence system over another advanced system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD).
Faced with North Korea’s rapid missile and nuclear development, and its threats, Japan has been looking into introducing a new missile-defence layer – either the THAAD or the Aegis Ashore, a land-based version of the Aegis system developed for war ships.
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party in March urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to consider acquiring the capability to hit enemy bases and to beef up missile defence.
The first Aegis Ashore site in Europe, based on proven Lockheed Martin technology, is now actively monitoring the skies of southern Europe for ballistic missile threats.