US, Japan Fire Jointly Developed Missile

U.S. Navy’s Weapons division performed a live-fire test of the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missile, a 21-inch diameter Standard Missile variant cooperatively developed by the United States and Japan for use with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program, on December 8.

This is the second such test of the SM-3 Block IIA on the Point Mugu Sea Range; the first took place June 6.

The Japan Ministry of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, successfully completed a flight test from the Point Mugu Sea Range, launching from a special land-based launch site on San Nicolas Island.

Although the missile is designed for eventual use in Aegis-equipped ships, none participated in this live-fire test.

Program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of gathered data, gauging the missile’s performance during the successful test.

The SM-3 Block IIA is a three-stage missile designed to intercept ballistic missiles threats above the earth’s atmosphere. It does not use explosives to effect an intercept, instead destroying threat missiles using a kinetic warhead. The warhead collides with the threat warhead at very high speed, destroying the target.

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