The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) second-generation weapon system has undergone further US Navy and the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) joint flight testing, aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70).
During the trial, known as flight test standard missile-21 (FTM-21), the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system onboard USS Lake Erie detected and launched two Raytheon-built standard missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missiles consecutively at a single target.
Following the launch, the missiles successfully destroyed a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target that was launched from the Pacific Missile Range facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
Raytheon Missile Systems president, Dr. Taylor Lawrence, said: "When this weapon deploys in 2015, the US and our allies will have a tremendously reliable, capable defensive asset on their side."
The system performance will be assessed and evaluated by programme officials, based upon telemetry and other data gathered during the test.
The Aegis BMD has been designed to strike short to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats using short-range ballistic missiles.
Featuring enhanced two-colour infrared seeker, the SM-3 Block IB comprises throttleable divert and attitude control system that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to guide the missile toward incoming targets.
Scheduled to be delivered in 2015, the SM-3 missile will be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers while the Aegis BMD programme is cooperatively managed by the MDA and the US Navy.
Raytheon has delivered more than 130 SM-3s to the US and Japanese navies to date, ahead of schedule and under cost.
Image: A SM-3 Block 1B missile being launched from USS Lake Erie, Photo: courtesy of US Navy.