US Navy boasts longest range anti-air warfare intercept in Navy history

The U.S. Navy announced that it has successfully completed the longest range anti-air warfare intercept in Navy history which took place at the Point Mugu test range in California, on September 22.

The navy, however, did not specify the length of the intercept.

During a test of the Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) system, Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), equipped with the latest Aegis Baseline 9, successfully processed data from a remote airborne sensor to engage and destroy an over-the-horizon threat representative target using Standard Missile-6 (SM-6).

The navy added that this was not the first time that SM-6 has shattered its own distance record. The missile broke the previous long-range intercept record in January of this year onboard USS John Paul Jones at Pacific Missile Range Facility, a milestone it originally set in June of 2014.

According to the navy, this NIFC-CA test was the tenth consecutive successful live-fire test to demonstrate an over-the- horizon, engage-on-remote capability. This particular test also successfully validated the NIFC-CA from the sea kill chain concept.

“NIFC-CA is a game changer for the U.S. Navy that extends the engagement range we can detect, analyze and intercept targets at sea,” said Rear Adm. Jon Hill, the program executive office integrated warfare systems (PEO IWS).

NIFC-CA From The Sea is a program of record which uses four pillar programs to act as a kill chain for the surface fleet: Aegis Baseline 9.0, Cooperative Engagement Capability, E2D Hawkeye and SM-6.

SM-6 provides U.S. Navy ships with extended-range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight. The active radar and extended range of the SM-6 allow it to track and destroy over the horizon targets which are out of sight of operators on deck.

Aegis Baseline 9 delivers a fully open architecture system on U.S. cruisers and destroyers and is the basis for current and future Aegis integrated air and missile defense. Baseline 9 is being fielded on in-service destroyers, new construction destroyers and Aegis Ashore. The Aegis common source library-enabled derivatives are on Freedom-variant littoral combat ships and will be included on the upcoming frigate ship.