Japanese destroyer tests ballistic missile defense system off Hawaii

Photo: Missile Defense Agency

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) guided missile destroyer JS Atago (DDG-177) has successfully intercepted and destroyed a US ballistic missile in a test conducted off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. 

The test was supported by JMSDF and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in cooperation with the US Navy.

As explained, the event, designated Japan Flight Test Mission-05 (JFTM-05), was conducted in order to demonstrate a successful engagement of a target missile from the JS Atago using the sea-based midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD.

The test event verified the newest BMD engagement capability of the Japan (J6) Aegis BMD configuration of the recently upgraded destroyer.

A simple separating, ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. JS Atago crew members detected and tracked the target.

The Aegis Weapon System then developed a fire control solution and a Standard Missile -3 Block IB Threat Upgrade (SM-3 Blk IB TU) missile was launched. The SM-3 successfully intercepted the target above the Pacific Ocean.

“This successful test is a major milestone verifying the capabilities of an upgraded Aegis BMD configuration for Japan’s destroyers,” MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said.

“This success provides confidence in the future capability for Japan to defeat the developing threats in the region (…) We are committed to assisting the Government of Japan in upgrading its national missile defense capability against emerging threats,” Greaves added.

JFTM-05 is said to be a significant milestone in the growing cooperation between Japan and the US in the area of missile defense.

“I believe the success of this flight test mission (JFTM-05) further strengthened the Japanese BMD system. We, the JMSDF and US Navy, will enhance our relationship and cooperation to continuously promote our ballistic missile defense,” RADM Akira Saito, Senior Director General, Operations & Plans Department, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), and on-site lead for the test, commented.

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