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Lockheed Martin briefs Indian Navy on Aegis missile defence system
Delhi, April 23 (IANS) US aerospace major Lockheed Martin has briefed the Indian Navy on its ship-mounted Aegis ballistic missile defence system and is also open to integrating it with indigenously developed armament, company officials said Thursday.
“We have briefed the Indian Navy on what is the only system that can cope with the highest state-of-the art threats,” Dan Howard, Lockheed Martin’s senior advisor for Asia and Pacific affairs, said at a select media interaction here.
“As for the response, that’s something you’ll have to ask the Indian Navy about,” he added.
Howard also said the company was open to collaborating with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on integrating its Prithvi Air Defence Shield (PADS) with the Aegis launcher and command and control system.
“Yes, we are open to collaborative measures. It all depends on what you (the Indian Navy and DRDO) want,” the official said.
The Aegis system, explained Richard G. Kirkland, president for South Asia of Lockheed Martin Global Inc., “is not meant to defend the ship it is mounted on but tasked to defend a broad area of sea lanes”.
He pointed out that 14 successful tests of the Aegis system had been conducted so far to intercept incoming targets within and outside the earth’s atmosphere, including one in November 2007 in which two short-range ballistic missiles were near simultaneously intercepted and destroyed.
And, in February 2008, a long-range missile fired from a specially-modified Aegis system successfully shot down a toxic US satellite with a precision strike that ensured that no “hot” debris fell earthwards.
“We completed the modification in 60 days,” Kirkland pointed out.
The Aegis system can track more than 100 missiles with its electronic systems and supercomputers, and engage them according to their threat priority.
It can engage, and strike, targets in the air, on sea, on the surface, and also sub-surface. The system’s command and decision-making core allows its computers to differentiate between missiles, debris, and friendly aerial vehicles, launching an attack only on what needs to be attacked.
Apart from the US Navy, the Aegis system is operational on Japanese, South Korean, Norwegian, Spanish and Australian naval vessels.
It is currently deployed on 85 ships around the globe with more than 20 additional ships planned or under contract.