While some U.S. Navy ships are now integrating an advanced Aegis software iteration called Baseline 10, all applications of the software on U.S. and allied vessels are engineered to be compatible with one another to enable information sharing. This includes FMS-specific Aegis systems, as sharing threat data would be the point of expanding radar detection across vast allied areas. The interoperability is grounded upon the technical premise that commonly-configured software can, through upgrades, adjust to new threat specifics yet retain a backward compatibility with other similarly engineered Aegis radar applications.
This is of particular relevance in the Pacific, given how dispersed and vast the ocean areas are, a reality likely informing the extended Aegis modernization with Japan. The Japanese coastline is within reach of some Chinese ballistic missiles, a scenario highlighting the need for U.S. and Japanese ships to remain on alert in the region and, when necessary, share pertinent threat data. For example, a Japanese ship might be able to use an Aegis system to develop a track on Chinese-fired missiles heading toward sensitive areas of the South China Sea, and quickly alert U.S. Navy assets on patrol in the region.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.