U.S. Successfully Conducts SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test Against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Target
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Nov. 17, 2020)
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS John Finn (DDG-113), an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer, intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, Nov. 16.

At approximately 7:50 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, (12:50 a.m., Nov. 17, Eastern Standard Time), the ICBM-representative target was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, toward the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii. In this developmental test, the destroyer used engage-on-remote capabilities through the Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) network as part of a defense of Hawaii scenario. After receiving tracking data from the C2BMC system, the destroyer launched a SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which destroyed the target.

"This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program," said MDA Director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill. "The Department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat. We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland. My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone."

Based on preliminary data, the test met its primary objective: demonstrate the ability for the SM-3 Block IIA missile to intercept an ICBM target. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

This event, designated Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44), was the sixth flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile. FTM-44, originally scheduled for May 2020, was delayed due to restrictions in personnel and equipment movement intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

FTM-44 satisfies a Congressional mandate to evaluate the feasibility of the SM-3 Block IIA missile's capability to defeat an ICBM threat before the end of 2020. The SM-3 Block IIA was originally designed and built for the Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile threat set.

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Weapons System is the naval component of the U.S. Missile Defense System. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD system. Aegis BMD ships (and Aegis Ashore) receive track data via the C2BMC system, build the fire control solutions, then launch and guide the SM-3 family of missiles to destroy incoming threats.

MDA's mission is to develop and deploy a layered Missile Defense System to defend the U.S., its deployed forces, allies, and friends from missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

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Mission Success: Aegis Combat System Supports Layered Homeland Defense
(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued Nov 17, 2020)
The USS John Finn (DDG-113), supported by the U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin, successfully conducted a remote engagement (lethal intercept) of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target. The Flight Test Maritime (FTM) – 44 test marks the first demonstration of an Aegis Baseline engagement of an ICBM-representative target.

This vital test demonstrated the latest Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 capability against an ICBM class threat and introduces the ability to provide layered Homeland Defense with Aegis. The target was launched from the Reagan Test Site (RTS) to conduct an Aegis Engage on Remote (EOR) mission. As designed in the current U.S. command and control architecture, the remote target track and discrimination data was provided by the MDA’s Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system and forwarded to Aegis for prosecution.

“This successful intercept is a tremendous accomplishment and confirms we have inherent capability against long range ballistic missile threats that can be deployed to all our Aegis Baseline 9 ships and Aegis Ashore sites – at any moment. The success of this mission has significant underpinning to the Aegis system’s strategic ability to provide Layered Homeland Defense,” said Jim Sheridan, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin.

With the successful completion of four Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) Phase 3 intercepts of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), this test demonstrated the ability to provide a globally deployed defensive weapon system. This missile defense system will defend the United States, its friends and allies from hostile ballistic missiles from all regions, all ranges, and during all phases of flight by a single integrated system that is capable of comprehensive layered defense. As C2BMC capability continues to advance, it will help to unlock even more Aegis weapon system capability and lethality.

Working as the Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA), Lockheed Martin engineers updated the Aegis weapon system to integrate the SM-3 IIA weapon and adapted the system to target, identify, and intercept the ICBM threat.

“We have evolved Aegis to perform a mission for which it wasn’t originally designed. The flexibility and adaptability of the total system – as well as our industry and government engineering teams -- allows Aegis to answer the call when needed,” Sheridan added.

Engineered to meet any ballistic missile defense need, the Aegis Weapon System is built on 50 years of constant evolution and innovation. Its flexible architecture enables it to fulfill a variety of missions – which is why it’s one of the most deployed combat system in the world.

Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 is built from the Common Source Library (CSL) and can rapidly integrate new capabilities, including solutions for both SPY-1 and the growing SPY-7 family of radars.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

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