According to everything I’ve ever read on the subject, Aegis is the most amazing system ever designed for warfare.
Its radar can track, identify, and direct fire upon over 100 targets simultaneously. It has the ability to take control of the fire control computers and radars on the other ships in its battle group and use them and their defenses as extensions of itself, making it an even more formidable defensive weapon. It can fire against both aircraft and missiles at elevations ranging from zero to 90 degrees.
Basically, an Aegis cruiser is a super-badass all by itself, but even moreso in a group of warships.
But has it even been put to the test in battle? I can’t find anything on the web about it, and I’ve never heard of such a battle. To be honest, I can’t think of anybody besides the Russians or the British who could muster enough firepower to even make it sweat, let alone stand a chance of getting through the defenses. Plus, I’m not aware of any important naval battles in the last 50 years or so.
Anybody know if it has actually had a chance to perform its function yet? If so, how did it do?
Aegis is primarily an air defence tool. Aegis-equipped vessels are superbly useful in protecting carrier groups from air attack, but vulnerable to submarine attack and also unconventional attack (e.g. suicide attacks from small craft loaded with speedboats).
The only use I can think of right now (so there may well be others) was the Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser Vincennes shooting down an Iran Air airliner by mistake in 1988. Not an illustrious start.
Well…there’s something to be said for a defense system being so freakin scary to a potential enemy that they never bother to test it.
Besides, attacking a carrier battle-group is a sure fire way to get the US to declare war on you. In the last 50 years only the former Soviet Union really had the capacity to even think of such a thing and given MAD we both danced around each other instead. I forget what the exact recent numbers are but the US spends more than the next 8-10 largest militaries in the world do combined. There isn’t a navy out there that can challenge the US and frankly it’d take multiple contries working together to think of it (and they’d still probably be outgunned). As for airforces few countries even field aircraft carriers and those carriers of other nationalities are all far smaller than one US Supercarrier. As a result a carrier would need to be in range of land-based aircraft fro any country to mount a credible threat. Given that one carrier possesses enough air power by itself to rival many countries and add in Aegis Defenses and a carrier is one tough nut to crack.
As a result no one has likely even thought to bother.