The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System successfully detected and tracked an unarmed US Air Force Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Aegis detected the missile when it rose above the horizon and immediately began BMD tracking operations. Lockheed Martin develops the Aegis BMD Weapon System for the US Navy and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and also serves as the Combat System Engineering Agent. Sailors from USS Russell (DDG 59) also used the Aegis BMD Weapon System to successfully transmit Minuteman III trajectory data via satellite through the Ballistic Missile Defense Communications System to the Ballistic Missile Defense command and control center at the Joint National Integration Center in Colorado Springs, CO. The MDA and the US Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Ultimately, 15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers will be outfitted with the capability to conduct Long Range Surveillance and Tracking (LRS&T) and engagement of short and medium range ballistic missile threats using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3). To date, eight Aegis destroyers have been upgraded with the LRS&T capability and two cruisers have been outfitted with the emergency engagement and LRS&T capability. The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier naval defense system and is the foundation for Aegis BMD, the primary component of the sea-based element of the United States’ BMDS.