US Navy intercepts intermediate range ballistic missile target during operational test

Photo: MDA

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Navy sailors have conducted an on-land ballistic missile defense system test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Kauai, Hawaii.

During the test, the Lockheed Martin-built Aegis Weapon System engaged and intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) target with an interceptor missile based on ground-based radar track and discrimination data provided by Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC).

The Flight Test Integrated-03 (FTI-03) consisted of an IRBM target, air-launched by a US Air Force C-17 from the broad ocean area thousands of miles southwest of the Aegis Ashore Test site that launched the SM-3 Block IIA Interceptor.

The engagement leveraged a ground, air and space-based sensor/command and control architecture linked by the Ballistic Missile Defense System’s C2BMC suite.

“Today’s successful flight test demonstrated the effectiveness of the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase 3 architecture. It also was of great significance to the future of multi-domain missile defense operations and supports a critical initial production acquisition milestone for the SM-3 Block IIA missile program,” MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, said.

“This system is designed to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from a real and growing ballistic missile threat. I offer my congratulations to all members of the team, military, civilian, contractors and allies who helped make this possible,” Greaves added.

Based on preliminary data, the test met its objective, and program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test, according to MDA.

The test builds on the successful USS John Finn (DDG 113) FTM-45 test in October that demonstrated the integrated capabilities of the Aegis Weapon System. It demonstrated the new take down assessment functionality, bi-directional communications and sensor improvement algorithms.

“This test authenticates the strengthening global security of the US and its allies as we deepen the defense capabilities with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System,” Paul Klammer, director, Lockheed Martin Aegis BMD, said in a separate statement.

The test also builds upon joint research investments by the United States and Japan and comes on the heels of a successful test with the JS ATAGO (DDG 177) in September. Lockheed Martin is developing a Baseline 9/BMD 5.1 variant computer program, for deployment on Japan’s Aegis destroyers.

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