The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS LAKE ERIE (CG-70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missile.
At 5:25 p.m. (Hawaii Time, 11:25 p.m. EDT), May 15, a separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS LAKE ERIE (CG-70) detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space based on guidance from Aegis BMD Weapons Systems and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target reentry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.
Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
This test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System and Standard Missile, providing capability for engagement of longer-range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles.
Last night’s event, designated Flight Test Standard Missile-19 (FTM-19), was the third consecutive successful intercept test of the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and the SM-3 Block IB guided missile. Previous successful ABMD 4.0 SM-3 Block IB intercepts occurred on May 9, 2012 and June 26, 2012. Other Aegis BMD intercepts have employed the ABMD 3.6 and 4.0 with the SM-3 Block IA missile, which is currently operational on U.S. Navy ships deployed across the globe.
FTM-19 is the 25th successful intercept in 31 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 59th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 74 flight tests since 2001.
Aegis BMD is the naval component of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis BMD engagement capability defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the SM-2 Block IV missile. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.