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Aegis Combat System

Description: The Aegis system was designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill. The heart of the system is an advanced, automatic detect and track, multi-function phased-array radar, the AN/SPY-1. This high powered (four megawatt) radar is able to perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously with a track capacity of over 100 targets. The first Engineering Development Model (EDM-1) was installed in the test ship, USS Norton Sound (AVM 1) in 1973.

The computer-based command and decision element is the core of the Aegis combat system. This interface makes the Aegis combat system capable of simultaneous operation against a multi-mission threat: anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

The Navy built the first Aegis cruisers using the hull and machinery designs of Spruance class destroyers. The commissioning of USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) opened a new era in surface warfare as the first Aegis ship outfitted with the Vertical Launching System (VLS), allowing greater missile selection, firepower and survivability. The improved AN/SPY-1B radar went to sea in USS Princeton (CG 59), ushering in another advance in Aegis capabilities. USS Chosin (CG 65) introduced the AN/UYK-43/44 computers, which provide increased processing capabilities.

In 1980, a smaller ship was designed using an improved sea-keeping hull form, reduced infra-red and radar cross section and upgrades to the Aegis Combat System. The first ship of the DDG 51 class, Arleigh Burke, was commissioned on the Fourth of July, 1991. The DDG 51 class was named after a living person, the legendary Adm. Arleigh Burke, the most famous destroyerman of World War II.

DDG 51s were constructed in flights, allowing technological advances during construction. Flight II, introduced in FY 1992, incorporates improvements to the SPY radar and the Standard missile, active electronic countermeasures and communications. Flight IIA, introduced in fiscal year 1994, added a helicopter hangar with one anti-submarine helicopter and one armed attack helicopter. The Aegis program has also projected reducing the cost of each Flight IIA ship by at least $30 million.

Point of Contact:
Public Affairs Office
Naval Sea Systems Command (OOD)
Washington, DC 20362


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