US MDA and US Navy carry out SM-3 Block IIA intercept test

18 November 2020 (Last Updated November 18th, 2020 16:06)

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy sailors have intercepted and destroyed the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile.

US MDA and US Navy carry out SM-3 Block IIA intercept test
The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile intercepted and destroyed an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) representative target. Credit: Courtesy / US Indo-Pacific Command.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy sailors have intercepted and destroyed the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile.

It took place at an ocean area near Hawaii during a flight test demonstration.

The representative ICBM target was fired toward the ocean area from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, which is situated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

During the test, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) used engage-on-remote capabilities via the Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) network.

USS John Finn then launched the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile after it received tracking data from the system.

MDA director Vice Admiral Jon Hill said: “This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA programme.

“The department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat.

“We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland.”

As per the preliminary data, the test achieved the primary aim, which was to showcase the capability of the SM-3 Block IIA missile to interrupt an ICBM target.

The event is designated Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44) and is the sixth flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile.

In March this year, Raytheon secured a $2.1bn contract from the US MDA to produce and deliver Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB interceptors.