The United States Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy announced the successful intercept and destruction of a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile target with a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration last Sunday. The demonstration took part in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii and involved sailors aboard the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System-equipped destroyer USS John Finn .
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. During the test, the destroyer utilized engage-on-remote capabilities through the Command and Control Battle Management Communications 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,” added Hill. “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.”
The United States was sending a clear message to China on Tuesday when it shot down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the Pacific Ocean, military experts said.
“The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor test could be seen as a response to China launching two ‘aircraft carrier killer’ missiles into the South China Sea,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said.
He was referring to reports that the People’s Liberation Army fired a DF-26B and a DF-21D from separate sites into the sea in August, as covered by the South China Morning Post at the time.
Last week it was reported that a former colonel with the Chinese military, speaking at a meeting in October, said the Chinese missiles successfully hit a moving ship close to the Paracel Islands.
Beijing has made no comment about either the launch of the missiles – known as “aircraft carrier killers” – or the mission’s apparent success.
In the US exercise on Tuesday, the latest version of an Aegis SM-3 missile built by American firm Raytheon Missiles & Defence was fired from a destroyer in the Pacific, northeast of Hawaii. Its target was launched from a test site in the Marshall Islands, the Pentagon said.
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