U.S. Intercepts Four of Five Missile Targets in Complex Test

The U.S. military on Wednesday employed a variety of antimissile assets to synchronously intercept four mock ballistic and cruise missiles in the biggest, most elaborate live-fire missile defense test to date, according to a release from the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.

A fifth intercept attempt appeared to proceed on track but did not result in downing the test missile, the organization said.

The test over the western Pacific involved Aegis and Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptors as well as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, which for the first time ever destroyed a dummy medium-range ballistic missile, according to early assessments.

The THAAD interceptor, after being fired from Meck Island, was able to successfully engage its simulated medium-range ballistic missile threat using data provided by an AN/TPY-2 radar, also stationed on Meck Island, which detected and tracked the target.

In another test engagement, a tactical-range dummy missile was fired from a movable firing apparatus in an area northeast of Kwajalein Atoll. A Patriot antimissile system was able to trace, monitor and fire a PAC-3 missile at the target to destroy it. A PAC-3 interceptor was also able to eliminate a cruise missile.

The Aegis-equipped USS Fitzgerald guided missile destroyer was able to intercept a cruise missile, but it does not appear that a separate tactical ballistic missile was successfully engaged by a Standard Missile 3 Block 1A missile fired by the ship.

Wednesday's test was a joint effort by the Missile Defense Agency, the Air Force's 613th Air and Space Operations Center, the 32nd and 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command,  and naval crew assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. Officials are still examining technical data gathered from the test, which will be used for further analysis of the battle readiness of U.S. antimissile systems, the organization said.

U.S. ballistic missile defense assets have achieved close to a 79 percent interception rate in the 71 live-fire drills carried out in the last 11 years.

October 25, 2012
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The U.S. military on Wednesday employed a variety of antimissile assets to synchronously intercept four mock ballistic and cruise missiles in the biggest, most elaborate live-fire missile defense test to date, according to a release from the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.

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