A next-generation U.S. Standard Missile 3 interceptor on Tuesday completed its second successful intercept test over the Pacific Ocean , the Missile Defense Agency announced on Wednesday (see GSN, May 10).
The SM-3 Block 1B was fired from the USS Lake Erie after the ship's AN/SPY-1 radar identified and monitored a "separating ballistic missile target," which was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai at 11:15 p.m. local time, the Defense Department agency said in a press release.
The guided missile cruiser maintained watch on the target and transmitted flight path directions to the SM-3 Block 1B. The interceptor positioned itself as directed by the ship and fired a hit-to-kill warhead at the mock missile. The kinetic warhead through the force of impact eliminated the dummy threat.
The SM-3 Block 1B achieved its first successful intercept in May. Early assessments of this week's test suggest all constituent parts operated as planned, according to the MDA release.
The system is ultimately to be deployed as part of a developing U.S.-NATO missile shield in Europe.
"Today’s intercept is a critical accomplishment for the second phase of the president’s European Phased Adaptive Approach consisting of the SM-3 Block 1B interceptor employed in an Aegis Ashore system in Romania in 2015," the press release states.
Of 28 intercept trials to date of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense technology, 23 have been successful. The Aegis antimissile program is intended to eliminate short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The program is operated jointly by the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency (U.S. Missile Defense Agency release, June 27).