The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. The system was first used by the US Navy but is now utilized by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Spanish Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, and Republic of Korea Navy. Over 100 Aegis-equipped ships have been deployed in five navies worldwide.
In June 2015, the US State Department approved a potential foreign military sale worth nearly USD$1.91 billion to the Republic of Korea for the Aegis Combat Systems as well as associated equipment, parts, and logistical support. Congress has been notified about the possible sale. Under the proposed deal, South Korea will receive three Aegis shipboard combat systems, three MK-41 vertical launching systems, three common data link management systems, and three AN/UPX-29(V) identification friend or foe interrogators. In addition, the delivery will also include spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, as well as personnel training, training equipment, tool and test equipment.
South Korea will use the Aegis Combat System to enhance capabilities of its naval ships in order to protect sea lines of communication as well as defend against possible aggression. The system will also support the Korean Navy's efforts to upgrade its shipboard combat and ballistic missile defense capability. This also has benefits for the United States. This new development will help us support security and defense needs of our ally and partner nation, which is a major political and economic power in East Asia and the Western Pacific. Last, it will enable the US to help South Korea in developing and maintaining strong, operational self-defense capabilities.
If the sale is approved, Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Training, Raytheon Company, and General Dynamics Armament Systems will be the principal contractors. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system integrates the SPY-1 radar, MK 41 vertical launching system, and SM-3 missile through an advanced command and control system. Aegis BMD-equipped ships use hit-to-kill technology to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles.
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