The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors in the USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Navy’s newest missile defense interceptor missile, the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB.
At 11:15 pm Hawaii Standard Time, June 26 (5:15 am EDT June 27), the target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew on a northwesterly trajectory towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, 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 4.0.1 weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile.
The USS LAKE ERIE continued to track the target and sent trajectory information to the SM-3 Block IB missile in-flight. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space, as designated by the fire control solution, and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the threat in a hit-to-kill intercept.
Today’s test event was the second consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB missile and the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system. The first successful SM-3 Block IB intercept occurred on May 9, 2012. Today’s intercept is a critical accomplishment for the second phase of the President’s European Phased Adaptive Approach consisting of the SM-3 Block IB interceptor employed in an Aegis Ashore system in Romania in 2015.
Initial indications are that all components performed as designed resulting in a very accurate intercept.
This was the 23rd successful intercept in 28 flight test firings for the Aegis BMD program. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, it is the 54th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 68 flight tests since 2001.
Aegis BMD is the sea-based midcourse component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System and is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program.