The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the US Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, US Northern Command and the US Navy have successfully tested the ground-based mid-course defence (GMD) element of the ballistic missile defence system (BMDS).
During the test, which was held over the Pacific, the Boeing-run GMD system and Raytheon’s capability enhancement II exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) successfully intercepted Lockheed Martin’s LV-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was launched from the US Army’s Reagan test site on Kwajalein Atoll.
Aimed at safeguarding the US against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats exterior of the Earth’s atmosphere, the latest ground-based interceptor-06b (FTG-06b) will provide the required information to determine the performance of several BMDS elements for homeland defence.
US MDA director navy vice admiral James Syring said it was ‘a very important step in continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defence system’.
"We’ll continue efforts to ensure our deployed ground-based interceptors and our overall homeland defensive architecture continue to provide the warfighter [with] an effective and dependable system to defend the country," Syring said.
As part of the test, the Aegis Weapon System, equipped on the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), successfully detected and tracked the target using the AN/SPY-1 radar, and then sent data to the GMD fire control system through the command, control, battle management and communication (C2BMC) system.
Furthermore, Raytheon’s sea-based X-Band radar was also able to track the target and broadcast information.
With the test validating the performance of all components, the agencies are considering an extensive assessment and review of system performance.
Image: The US MDA’s flight test 06b ground-based interceptor during its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Photo: courtesy of the US Department of Defense.