The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the CG-70 USS Lake Erie successfully conducted an operational flight test of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean using the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB interceptor.
A medium-range ballistic missile target was launched about 7:33 p.m. Hawaii time, Oct. 3 — 1:33 a.m. Eastern time, Oct. 4 — from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB guided missile to engage the target.
The SM-3 maneuvered to intercept and released its kinetic warhead, which acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path and destroyed it.
Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
This test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles.
The event, designated Flight Test - Standard Missile-22 (FTM-22), was the fifth consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile with the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System. Findings of operational tests FTM-21 and 22 will support follow-on production decisions for the SM-3 Block IB guided missile, program officials say.
BMD operations and development have become increasingly important to the U.S. Navy, which recently revamped its shipbuilding plan to get more BMD-capable vessels into the fleet more quickly.
FTM-22 is the 28th successful intercept in 34 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 64th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 80 flight test attempts since 2001.
MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.