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U.S. Conducts Successful Missile Defense Test with SM-3 Block 1B

A Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptor is launched from the USS Lake Erie in a May test. The technology was successfully tested again on Wednesday agaisnt a complex ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean (U.S. Missile Defense Agency photo). A Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptor is launched from the USS Lake Erie in a May test. The technology was successfully tested again on Wednesday agaisnt a complex ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean (U.S. Missile Defense Agency photo).

The U.S. military on Wednesday announced it had carried out a successful missile-intercept test using the new second-generation Aegis system and a Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptor.

A separating dummy ballistic missile was fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai. The USS Lake Erie picked up the target's presence with its AN/SPY-1 radar, monitored its flight path and fired two Block 1B missiles at the dummy missile, according to a Defense Department press release.

The first interceptor eliminated the target. Wednesday's exercise was the first time that two Block 1Bs were fired against a solitary separating dummy missile. The department said the test was "operationally realistic," saying the dummy threat was "the most difficult target engaged to date." Its firing time and direction were not known ahead of time, according to the release.

The second-generation Aegis ballistic missile defense technology used in the test is a recent addition to the U.S. Aegis fleet and is able to target ballistic missiles from a greater distance than previous systems.

Aegis systems adapted for use on land along with Block 1B interceptors are planned to be deployed at bases in Poland and Romania in the coming years as part of the U.S. phased-adaptive approach for European missile defense.

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