FY97 DOT&E Annual Report


Navy ACAT ID Program
80 missiles, 4 ships
Total program cost (TY$) TBD
Average unit cost (TY$) TBD
Milestone II TBD
Full-rate production TBD

Prime Contractor
Standard Missile Company (missile)
Lockheed Martin Government Electronic Systems (Aegis Ship)


The requirement for the NTW Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) system is to provide protection to U.S. and allied forces against medium to long range theater ballistic missiles (TBMs). This protection includes those political and military assets designated as vital to U.S. interests. NTW will provide the capability to intercept missiles from ascent phase through exoatmospheric descent. The NTW system contributes to three of the four Joint Vision 2010 operational concepts: precision engagement, full-dimensional protection, and dominant maneuver forces. The NTW incorporates state-of-the-art technologies in its sensors, weapons, and battle management, command, control and communications systems. Information superiority enables NTW to be fully capable of operating autonomously or in a network receiving and exchanging data with other theater air and missile defense systems and external sensors. The NTW system will help ensure that Joint Forces enjoy full-spectrum dominance in the theater by being a primary contributor to full-dimensional protection of the dominant maneuver forces through precision engagement of longer range threat ballistic missiles.

The NTW system builds upon the existing Aegis Weapon System (AWS) and the Standard missile (SM) infrastructure as a further evolution of the Navy Area Defense TBMD system. The AWS will evolve to support exoatmospheric ascent, mid-course, and decent phase engagements. The SM-2 Block IV missile will be modified to accommodate a kinetic kill warhead, a new third stage propulsion system, and exoatmospheric guidance. The new NTW missile variant is the SM-3.


The initial basis for NTW was the TERRIER Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile (LEAP) demonstration program, which occurred between September 1992 and March 1995. The LEAP program consisted of four modified Standard Missile flyouts. Two flyouts occurred without targets, and two flyouts were failed intercept attempts. One of the failed intercepts was due to a software error and the other was due to battery failure.

NTW is currently in pre-Milestone I (MS I). MS I is scheduled for early 1998. The Navy is staffing the TEMP. Currently several concepts are being studied, including SM-3 and "marinized" Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile concepts. The Navy and DOT&E are discussing the scope of the Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PD&RR) test program.


The Aegis LEAP Intercept (ALI) program is funded as a follow-on to the TERRIER LEAP program and as part of PD&RR program. The ALI program consists of ten missile firings between September 1997 and October 2000. The first four flights will be SM-3 missile firings on ballistic trajectories without targets. The fifth firing will be a target flyby to characterize the seeker performance. The last five firings will be intercept attempts.


NTW is a high-risk program with several challenging technical aspects. Ascent phase intercept has not been demonstrated. Discrimination of the target from fuel "chuffing" or missile plume in the ascent phase may be difficult.

The scope of the PD&RR program is still under discussion. A limited test series after ALI prior to MS II is required. Since the ALI missile is not the configuration that will be taken into the EMD phase, DOT&E is strongly proposing additional testing on the EMD configuration missile from an Aegis ship prior to the MS II decision. Testing is needed on the EMD missile configuration to ensure its basic design is adequate before committing to an EMD acquisition program.


NTW needs challenging testing during the PD&RR phase. The first two TERRIER LEAP attempts failed to intercept exoatmospheric targets. Flight testing of the NTW system against representative targets following ALI and prior to MS II will ensure that the basic design of NTW is sound on entry to EMD.

The Integrated Product Team (IPT) process for the T&E related areas has not worked well for the Navy TBM programs. The Navy tends to work all problems and issues in house and present their conclusions to the IPTs—usually without data essential to support their rationale and conclusions. The Navy representatives attending the TBM IPTs are usually not empowered to make decisions that are necessary for efficient program planning and execution. Initially, infrequently scheduled IPT meetings precluded issue identification and resolution on an orderly and timely basis. Thus, issues were not always raised to the higher level IPTs for timely resolution. Recently, there has been some improvement with the Navy IPT process for the TBM programs, except that representatives who participate in the working level IPTs are still not empowered to make decisions.