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USS John Paul Jones Intercepts Target Missile Off Coast of Hawaii

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a complex missile defense flight test, resulting in the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target using Standard Missile (SM) 6 guided missiles during a test off the coast of Hawaii, Aug. 29.

A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, Aug. 29. (U.S. Navy/Latonja Martin)

John Paul Jones detected and tracked a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar and onboard SM-6 missiles executed the intercept.

“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

This test, designated Flight Test Standard Missile (FTM) 27 Event 2, marks the second time that an SM-6 missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

USS John Paul Jones to Replace USS Lake Erie; USS Preble Also Moving to Hawaii

The U.S. Navy announced Jan. 7 that USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) will swap homeports with USS Lake Erie (CG 70) this summer. USS Preble (DDG 88) will also leave San Diego for Hawaii this summer to replace the decommissioned frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57).

I got this coin a few weeks ago when I went on a tour of the USS Lake Erie

I got this coin a few weeks ago when I went on a tour of the USS Lake Erie

Moving the two guided-missile destroyers to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will provide updated, advanced Aegis capabilities to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (CNSGMP). It will also allow Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, to proceed to San Diego for a scheduled extended docking ship repair availability (EDSRA).

James and Phyllis Tucker Vow Renewal 118

Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer out of San Diego once the EDSRA is complete. John Paul Jones and Preble are Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers that perform key roles in support of a carrier strike group, expeditionary strike group or surface action group. John Paul Jones is currently the most technologically advanced ship within the BMD program and will be used in that capacity to support the Navy and Missile Defense Agency testing program. Recently, the ship was updated with the latest Aegis BMD capability to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile.

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DDGs are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence. These combatants operate in a network centric warfare environment and execute multi-mission tasking to include air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare. DDGs coordinate with units of a task group to conduct naval operations and execute the Maritime Strategy under a naval component commander.

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USS Reuben James, the last remaining guided-missile frigate homeported in Hawaii, was decommissioned July 18, 2013 after nearly 30 years of distinguished naval service.

Maintaining the most technologically advanced ships supports the United States’ commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Asia-Pacific.