The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has successfully completed an intercept flight test of the upgraded Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) system on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), off the coast of Hawaii.

During the flight test standard missile-25 (FTM-25), the Aegis BMD weapon system deployed the baseline nine configuration to detect, track and engage targets for the first time.

As part of the test, the system successfully destroyed two cruise and one ballistic missile targets simultaneously, marking the first live-fire of the system in integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) radar priority mode.

"The system successfully destroyed two cruise and one ballistic missile targets simultaneously."

Raytheon Missile Systems president Dr Taylor Lawrence said: "This test showcases the US’ ability to defend against numerous ballistic and cruise missile threats in raid scenarios.

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"No other nation in the world has the capability to do what the US Navy and Missile Defense Agency demonstrated today."

Upon the launch of a short-range ballistic missile target and two cruise missile targets from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Hawaii, the USS John Paul Jones, in its IAMD radar priority mode, was able to detect and track missiles with its AN / SPY-1 radar.

Programme officials will now assess system performance as part of the telemetry and other information attained during the flight test.

Furthermore, the FTM-25 marks the 29th victorious intercept in 35 flight tests for the Aegis BMD programme, since the start of flight testing in 2002, and also the 66th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 82 test-flight attempts since 2001.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and training business integration and strategy BMD programmes director Paul Klammer said: "These successful engagements demonstrated the extraordinary capabilities of Aegis BMD and baseline nine, and the readiness of our sailors aboard the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), to continue to defend our nation in the air, on land and at sea."

Defence Technology