USS Mobile Bay launches SM-2 missile, destroys airborne training target

The U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) has launched a Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) successfully destroying an airborne training target on Oct. 24.

The launch also marked the first test of the updated AEGIS Baseline 9 weapons system abroad the cruiser.

Mobile Bay is the first cruiser to upgrade from the AEGIS Baseline 8 Combat System to the updated AEGIS Baseline 9 Combat System (9 on 8) which increases the accuracy, range and weapons capabilities of the ship. The ship tested the new combat systems update during a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Southern California.

Mobile Bay, the first guided-missile cruiser in the fleet to upgrade from AEGIS Baseline 8 to the updated Baseline 9, is currently underway testing new weapons capabilities in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

The cruiser fired two Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) missiles and one Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) missile from the forward launcher on the ship’s forecastle. The primary objectives of testing the Fire Control Loop with the 9 on 8 computer program, as well as test some newly introduced advanced features, with 9 on 8 were successfully demonstrated.

Mobile Bay previously upgraded to the AEGIS Baseline 8 Combat System in 2010 as part of a cruiser modernization initiative. In addition to extensive modernization of structural, mechanical, and electrical components of the ship, the legacy AEGIS Weapons System computing suite was removed and replaced with commercial off the shelf hardware (known as Technical Insertion-08), bringing the weapons system into an open architecture environment.

One SM-2 missile engagement was accomplished using only the SPQ-9 radar system, a first in U.S. Naval history, and a demonstration of the enhanced capabilities the new updated AEGIS weapons system brings to the fleet.

Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) is an air defense weapon, providing superior anti-air warfare and limited anti-surface warfare capability against anti-ship missiles and aircraft out to 90 nautical miles and an altitude of 65,000 feet.

SM-2 is an integral part of layered defense that protects the U.S. naval assets and gives warfighters a greater reach in the battlespace.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD or ABMD) is a U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) program to provide missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles (SRBM/IRBM).

It is part of the U.S. 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.

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