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Sea-Based Missile Defense "Hit to Kill" Intercept Achieved

6 November 2007

Air Force Lieutenant General Henry 'Trey" Obering, Missile Defense Agency (MDA) director, announced the successful completion today of a multiple simultaneous engagement involving two ballistic missile targets. This was MDA's latest "hit to kill" intercept flight test conducted jointly with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. For the first time, the operationally realistic test involved two unitary "non-separating" targets, meaning that the target's warheads did not separate from their booster rockets. This was the 32nd and 33rd successful "hit-to-kill" intercepts since 2001.

Designated as Flight Test Standard Missile-13 (FTM-13), it marked the tenth and eleventh successful intercepts, of thirteen targets in twelve scheduled flight tests for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program, a sea-based component of the Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Aegis BMD is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. The mission was completed by the cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), using the tactically certified 3.6 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense shipboard weapon system and the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA interceptor.

At approximately 6:12 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (11:12 p.m. EST), a target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. Moments later, a second, identical target was launched from the PMRF. The USS Lake Erie's Aegis BMD Weapon System detected and tracked the targets and developed fire control solutions.

Approximately two minutes later, the USS Lake Erie's crew fired two SM-3 missiles, and two minutes later they successfully intercepted the targets outside the earth's atmosphere more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles northwest of Kauai. The intercepts used "hit to kill" technology, meaning that the targets were destroyed when the missiles collided directly with the targets.

A Japanese destroyer also participated in the flight test. Stationed off Kauai and equipped with the certified 3.6 Aegis BMD weapon system, the guided missile destroyer JS Kongo performed long-range surveillance and tracking exercises. The Kongo used the test as a training exercise in preparation for the first ballistic missile intercept test by a Japanese ship planned for later this year. This event marked the fourth time an allied military unit participated in a U.S. Aegis BMDS test.

MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors of Moorestown, New Jersey is the Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) and prime contractor for the Aegis BMD 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. Media contacts are Chris Taylor, MDA Public Affairs, at (703) 901-9476 (cell)/(808) 335-4740 (PMRF) and Rick Lehner, MDA Public Affairs, at (703) 697-8997.

Photos are available at (MDA and Navy Visual News) websites. Post event video will be available 9:30-10pm (HST), 2:30-3am (EST), Satellite AMC 3, Transponder 8A, FEC 3/4, Data Rate 5.5, DL Frequency 11845V. Symbol Rate 3.9787. Trouble uplink 678-313-6001. Video also available from DVIDs: Digital C- Band (Channel 1) Galaxy 11 @ 91 degrees West, Transponder C-21, D/L Frequency 4133 Polarization Horizontal Down L-Band 1017 Symbol Rate 6.1113, FEC 5/6 Data Rate 9386637 DVIDS Channel/Service 1, Trouble link 678-421-6604

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