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Navy Ships Key to Missile Test Success

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070625-10
Release Date: 6/25/2007 4:19:00 PM

From Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

KAUAI, Hawaii (NNS) -- Two U.S. Navy warships, a Spanish frigate, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) mobile ground-based radar participated in a successful “hit to kill” intercept flight test conducted off the coast of Kauai on June 22.

This was the 28th successful intercept in 36 missile defense tests since 2001.

The San Diego-based Aegis destroyer, USS Decatur (DDG 73), using the operationally certified Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System (BMD 3.6) and a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) Block IA missile successfully intercepted a “separating” target during its midcourse phase of flight. The Pearl Harbor based Aegis cruiser, USS Port Royal (CG 73), used the flight test to support development of the new Aegis BMD SPY-1B radar signal processor, collecting performance data on its increased target detection and discrimination capabilities.

The Spanish frigate, Mendez Nunez (F-104), stationed off Kauai, performed long-range surveillance and track operations as a training event to assess the future capabilities of the F-100 Class. The THAAD radar tracked the target and exchanged tracking data with the Aegis BMD cruiser.

The “separating” target intercept (meaning that the target warhead separated from its booster rocket) marked the ninth successful intercept in eleven flight tests for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program, the sea-based component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), designed to intercept and destroy short to medium-range ballistic missiles. All target launches managed by the Missile Defense Agency’s Targets and Countermeasures directorate to support the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System have been successful.

The event, designated as Flight Test Standard Missile -12 (FTM-12), was the third intercept involving a separating target and the first time an Aegis BMD-equipped destroyer was used to launch the interceptor missile.

At approximately 4:40 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, a medium-range ballistic missile with a separating target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai. Decatur detected and tracked the target and developed a fire control solultion.

Approximately four minutes later, Decatur’s crew launched the SM-3, and two minutes later the missile successfully intercepted the target warhead outside the earth’s atmosphere more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles northwest of Kauai. The intercept used “hit to kill” technology, meaning that the target warhead was destroyed when the missile collided directly with the target, using no explosives.

This event marked the third time that an allied military unit participated in a U.S. Aegis BMD test, with warships from Japan and the Netherlands participating in earlier tests. Japan has committed to deploying SM-3 interceptor missiles aboard its Aegis ships, and is also working with the United States to develop a sea-based interceptor with more advanced capabilities.

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