Japan's New Missile Defense System Couldn't Intercept Chinese Missiles in Real Battle: Experts
(Source: People's Daily Online; issued Feb 07, 2017)
The U.S. and Japan successfully conducted a missile interception test off the Hawaiian Islands on Feb. 4. The USS John Paul Jones destroyed the target ballistic missile using its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor, reports stated. But an expert pointed out that Japan's new weapon is unable to threaten China.

Military observers believe the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, together with the U.S.-backed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have created a wider defensive range against China, and will threaten the security of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

"China always believes that the anti-missile issue bears on global strategic stability and mutual trust among major powers, and therefore shall be approached with great care," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press conference on Feb. 6. "We are firmly against the U.S. and the ROK deploying the THAAD anti-missile defense system in the ROK," Lu continued.

A Russian analyst said the U.S. global missile defense system ultimately targets the nuclear deterrent capability of China and Russia.

Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert, said that once the upgrade and deployment of the SM-3 system is completed, it will encourage Japanese militarism and threaten the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. and Japan also discussed ballistic missile defense during U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis's visit to Japan, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported. The SM-3 system will greatly enhance Japan's ballistic missile defense capability, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun stated.

"But the SM-3 system couldn't intercept any Chinese missiles in real battle," Yang noted.

Shunzi Taoka, a Japanese military analyst, thinks that for Washington, a harmonious bilateral relationship with China is more important than one with Japan. Apart from counterbalancing China, the U.S. is attempting to develop a relationship of trust with China. While Japan is dreaming about encircling China with the help of U.S., the latter is giving China a warm hug, he described.

"I cannot help but ask, who is on earth trapped inside the circle?" he wondered.

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U.S., Japan Intercept Ballistic Missile in Test
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Feb 07, 2017)
FORT BELVOIR, Va. --- The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, working with Japan’s defense ministry and U.S. sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, successfully conducted a flight test Feb. 3 resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii, according to a Missile Defense Agency news release.

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor operates as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system and can be launched from Aegis-equipped ships or Aegis Ashore sites.

Target Interception

At approximately 10:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, Feb. 3 -- 3:30 a.m. EDT, Feb. 4 -- a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The crew of the John Paul Jones detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, which intercepted the target.

“[The] test demonstrates a critical milestone in the cooperative development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile,” said MDA Director Navy Vice Adm. Jim Syring. “The missile, developed jointly by a Japanese and U.S. government and industry team, is vitally important to both our nations and will ultimately improve our ability to defend against increasing ballistic missile threats around the world."

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

The flight test, designated SM-3 Block IIA Cooperative Development Project Flight Test, Standard Missile-01, was the third flight test of the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, and the first intercept test. This test also marks the first time an SM-3IIA was launched from an Aegis ship and the first intercept engagement using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 (BMD 5.1) weapon system.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense is the naval component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program. The Missile Defense Agency's mission is to develop and deploy a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

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U.S., Japan Successfully Conduct First SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test
(Source: Missile Defense Agency; issued Feb. 03, 2017)
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a flight test Feb. 3 (Hawaii Standard Time), resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii.

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor operates as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system and can be launched from Aegis-equipped ships or Aegis Ashore sites.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, Feb. 3 (3:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Feb. 4) a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. John Paul Jones detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1D(V) radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target.

“Today's test demonstrates a critical milestone in the cooperative development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. “The missile, developed jointly by a Japanese and U.S. government and industry team, is vitally important to both our nations and will ultimately improve our ability to defend against increasing ballistic missile threats around the world."

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

The flight test, designated SM-3 Block IIA Cooperative Development (SCD) Project Flight Test, Standard Missile (SFTM)-01, was the third flight test of the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, and the first intercept test. This test also marks the first time an SM-3IIA was launched from an Aegis ship and the first intercept engagement using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 (BMD 5.1) weapon system.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense is the naval component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program. The Missile Defense Agency's mission is to develop and deploy a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

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