The Navy and contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT] have completed the first installation of the latest version of the Aegis combat system that for the first time fuses air theater defense and ballistic missile defense capabilities.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said recently that the installation of Aegis baseline 9 was completed aboard the USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), a Ticonderoga-class cruiser. The upgrade began in April at a BAE Systems ship repair yard in San Diego, Calif.

"With its newly enhanced air defense capability, USS Chancellorsville will be one of the most powerful warships operating in the fleet today," Capt. Ted Zobel, the program manager for the cruiser modernization at NAVSEA, said.

The modernization also included improvements to Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), the AN/SPQ-9B radar integrated for anti-missile defense, AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 radar upgrades and a gun weapon system upgrade.

The ship will enter combat system qualification trials beginning this month and is expected to rejoin the fleet in June 2014.

The key element of baseline 9 is the Multi-Mission Signal Processor (MMSP), which furnishes the power to combine air theater and ballistic missile defense.

The next ships receiving the Aegis upgrades are the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the USS Normandy (CG-60), also a Ticonderoga cruiser. The first newly constructed ship to get baseline 9 will be the USS John Finn (DDG-113).