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The US Navy has conducted tests to check the performance of the newest upgrade to the Aegis weapon system aboard the latest Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Specifically the tests were to see if the Baseline 6 Phase 1 version of the system produced by Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems- Moorestown were acceptable.

The two ships taking part in the TRIAL BRAVO exercises, in which a target drone was tracked and engaged, were the Oscar Austin (DDG 79), built by Bath Iron Works (BIW) of Bath, Maine, and Roosevelt (DDG 80), built by Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, in Mississippi. TRIAL BRAVO is part of a new ship's construction evaluation conducted in part by the shipbuilder and the US Navy to ensure that the ship and its systems are operating as expected.

This recent test of the Aegis weapon system is important because Baseline 6 Phase 1 includes significant COTS technology and equipment, which is integrated with traditional equipment manufactured to military specifications. The commercial equipment introduced into Baseline 6 Phase 1 includes computers, servers, routers, display systems and other peripheral equipment.

"This initial test of the Baseline 6 Phase 1 Aegis weapon system is an important step in verifying the integration and performance of COTS equipment,'' said Fred P. Moosally, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin NE&SS-Moorestown.

The successful tests onboard Oscar Austin and Roosevelt are the first of a series of evaluations that will demonstrate performance of a COTS-based Aegis weapon system. Verifying the performance of ships equipped with Baseline 6 Phase 1 Aegis systems is a stepping stone to the next-generation system -- Baseline 6 Phase 3, which incorporates cooperative engagement capability (CEC) and area tactical ballistic missile defence (TBMD) capability into new- construction destroyers.

CEC allows ships and aircraft to share sensor and targeting information, enabling one ship to fire a missile against a target being tracked by another ship. This networking of sensors provides improved tracking capability against all types of air and missile targets. Baseline 6 Phase I CEC functionality is planned to be demonstrated in the May 2000 timeframe.

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