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Intercept Flight Test Of US Aegis BMD Weapon System Successful

The United States on Wednesday successfully conducted an intercept flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system.

The test, jointly carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie, resulted in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.

The 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 detected and tracked the missile with its on board AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. It was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target.

Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles. It was an operationally realistic test, in which the target's launch time and bearing are not known in advance, and the target complex was the most difficult target engaged to date, the Pentagon said in a press release.

Designated Flight Test-Standard Missile-21 (FTM-21), it was the fourth consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile with the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System.

FTM-21 is the 27th successful intercept in 33 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 63rd successful hit-to-kill intercept in 79 flight test attempts 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, mid course-phase ballistic missile threats with the SM-3, as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IV missile. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

by RTT Staff Writer

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