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Aegis Shoots Down Incoming Missile (Nov 18)

Air Force Lieutenant General Henry “Trey” Obering, Missile Defense Agency director, announced the completion today of a successful Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense “hit to kill” intercept flight test conducted jointly with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii.

The test involved for the first time a “separating” target, meaning that the target warhead separated from its booster rocket. This was the sixth successful intercept test in seven flight tests conducted since intercept tests began in 2002. Previous tests were against unitary (nonseparating) targets representative of “SCUD”-type ballistic missiles.

The event, designated as Flight Test Maritime 04-2 (FTM 04-2), tested the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The Aegis program is the maritime component of the overall Ballistic Missile Defense System and is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The interceptor missile was launched from the Pearl Harbor-based Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), using the operational version of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense’s Block 2004 configuration, which includes the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block I missile.

At approximately 8:12 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (1:12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) a medium-range separating target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii.

The USS Lake Erie (CG 70), outfitted with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 3.0 Weapon System, detected, tracked the target and developed a fire control solution.

Approximately four minutes later, the USS LAKE ERIE’s crew fired the SM-3, and six minutes later the interceptor missile successfully intercepted the target warhead more than 100 miles in space above the Pacific Ocean and 375 miles northwest of Kauai. The intercept used “hit to kill” technology, which means that the target warhead was destroyed when the interceptor missile collided directly with the target.

The Aegis destroyer USS HOPPER (DDG 70), outfitted with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense equipment, was stationed off the coast of Kauai supporting the mission by performing long-range missile surveillance and tracking functions.

MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program. Navy Rear Admiral Kathleen Page, who will retire from active duty in the near future, serves as the MDA program director. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors of Moorestown, New Jersey is the Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) and prime contractor for the Aegis Weapon System and Vertical Launch System installed in Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers. Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Arizona is the prime contractor for the SM-3 missile and all previous variants of Standard Missile.

Sea-Based Missile Defense “Hit-to-Kill” Intercept Achieved