Friday, March 27, 2009

US Navy Completes Air and Ballistic Missile Exercise

In this file photo, an MH-60s helicopter prepares to land on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65). The San Diego-based Aegis destroyer engaged multiple targets during exercise Stellar Daggers. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick W. Mullen III.)

Focus on Defense:

SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2009 -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear announced the completion of the fleet operational exercise, Stellar Daggers, March 26.

The scheduled event took place March 24 and 26. Command and control of the participants in Stellar Daggers resided with U.S. 3rd Fleet based in San Diego.

San Diego-based Aegis destroyer, USS Benfold (DDG 65) engaged multiple targets during this multi-event exercise with Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA and modified SM-2 BLK IV missiles. The overall objective of Stellar Daggers was to test the Aegis system's sea-based ability to simultaneously detect, track, engage and destroy multiple incoming air and ballistic missile threats during terminal or final phase of flight.

During the event, Benfold's Aegis Weapons System successfully detected and intercepted a cruise missile target with a SM-2 BLK IIIA, while simultaneously detecting and intercepting an incoming short range ballistic missile (SRBM) target with a modified SM-2 BLK IV. This is the first time the fleet has successfully tested the Aegis system's ability to intercept both an SRBM in terminal phase and a low-altitude cruise missile target at the same time.

Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), which includes Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), is a Navy core competency and a key warfighting capability for the U.S. maritime strategy, which calls for credible combat power to be continuously postured to protect America's vital interests.

(Report from a U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs news release.)

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