NWS19oct-3. Navy Linebacker ready for sea by Navy Office of Information NAVY WIRE SERVICE (NWS) -- 19 October 1998 WASHINGTON (NWS) -- The U.S. Navy and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization are one step closer to deployment of the first Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) capability after recent successful LINEBACKER sea trials aboard USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and USS Port Royal (CG 73) at the Pacific Missile Range, Kauai, Hawaii. The two AEGIS-class cruisers are homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. LINEBACKER is a modification to the AEGIS Weapon System that allows AEGIS ships to detect, track, and when coupled with the STANDARD Missile-2 Block IVA, intercept Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM). "The delivery of LINEBACKER is a significant milestone towards an initial Navy area TBMD capability and a major success for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the Navy," said Rear Adm. George Huchting, Program Executive Officer, Theater Surface Combatants. Navy TBMD is vital because it provides a defense against the increasing threat of ballistic missile attack to our forward deployed forces and allies. The term LINEBACKER was chosen to commemorate at-sea operations during the Vietnam War, when Navy ships provided critical support to U.S. and allied forces ashore. Similar to a linebacker in a football game, the U.S. Navy will proceed to the site of the play, batting down passes, forcing tackles, and keeping the other side's offense off balance. Sea-based theater ballistic missile defenses highlight the ability of Navy ships to forward deploy TBMD forces near potential overseas crisis regions. The defensive advantages of LINEBACKER will help deter conflict and protect both U.S. and allied forces deployed to crisis regions, as well as reinforcements at airfields, debarkation ports and staging areas. Lake Erie and Port Royal are now prepared to participate in at-sea TBM target tracking events this fall. LINEBACKER missiles will begin delivery and undergo testing in 2000.