Navy – Missile Defense System Completes Successful Intercept Test Off Kauai Last Night

The Missile Defense Agency and Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie conducted a successful flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system yesterday, Pentagon officials reported.

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

In the test, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 4.0 weapon system and a Standard Missile 3 Block IB missile intercepted a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean.

A separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area. The USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile.

The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space based on guidance from Aegis BMD weapon system and released its kinetic warhead. The warhead acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, officials said, and program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

Last night’s event, designated Flight Test Maritime 19, was the third consecutive successful intercept test of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system and the SM-3 Block IB guided missile, and the 25th successful intercept in 31 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002.

In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile - 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy. (AP Photo/US Navy)

In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy. (AP Photo/US Navy)

Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 59th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 74 flight tests since 2001, officials said.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

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