The Aegis Combat System: The First 50 Years
The Aegis Combat System: The First 50 Years

The Aegis Combat System: The First 50 Years

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With 50 years of constant evolution and innovation, Lockheed Martin has a trusted history of producing, integrating, and delivering radars and combat systems. Lockheed Martin and the Aegis Combat System continue to keep pace with evolving integrated air and missile threats, introducing new capabilities to create the latest generation of advanced solid state technologies, integrated with the Aegis system, to provide world-class defense and ensure future safety and security.

The Aegis Combat System is an American integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. Initially used by the United States Navy, Aegis is now used also by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Spanish Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy and Royal Australian Navy. Over 100 Aegis-equipped ships have been deployed. It is also part of NATO’s European missile defence system.

The US Navy decided to develop a program to defend ships from anti-ship missile threats. An Advanced Surface Missile System (ASMS) was promulgated and an engineering development program was initiated in 1964 to meet the requirements. ASMS was renamed “Aegis” in December 1969 after the aegis, the shield of the Greek god Zeus. The name was suggested by Captain L. J. Stecher, a former Tartar Weapon System manager, after an internal U.S. Navy contest to name the ASMS program was initiated. The main manufacturer of the Aegis Combat System, Lockheed Martin, makes no mention of the name Aegis being an acronym, nor does the U.S. Navy.

The first Engineering Development Model (EDM-1) was installed in a test ship, USS Norton Sound, in 1973. The first cruiser of this class was USS Ticonderoga, which used two twin-armed Mark-26 missile launchers, fore and aft. The commissioning of the sixth ship of the class, USS Bunker Hill opened a new era in surface warfare as the first Aegis ship outfitted with the Martin Marietta Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), allowing a wider missile selection, more firepower, and survivability. The improved AN/SPY-1B radar went to sea in USS Princeton, ushering in another advance in Aegis capabilities. USS Chosin introduced the AN/UYK-43/44 computers, which provide increased processing capabilities.

The Aegis Combat System: The First 50 Years
The Aegis Combat System: The First 50 Years

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