The US Navy’s destroyer USS Paul Ignatius has conducted a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) ‘Launch on Remote’ test using data from Thales’ SMART-L Naval Multi-Mission (SMART-L MM/N) radar.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile ship also used the track data from the long-range surveillance radar to guide the SM-3 interceptor to destroy a non-separating ballistic missile in space.

This activity was conducted during the US-led military Missile Defence exercise ‘At Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 (ASD/FS21)’.

Installed on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command frigate ‘HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën’, the SMART-L MM/N surveillance radar autonomously detected and tracked the ballistic missile.

ASD/FS21 exercise is an integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) drill on the Hebrides test range in the Western Isles of Scotland.

It is organised by the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet and the Maritime Theater Missile Defence Forum.

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The SMART-L MM/N long range surveillance radar successfully tracked the ballistic missile for more than five minutes as it reached speeds of 3km/s and an altitude of more than 300km.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer received the tracking data through the Nato communications network.

The ASD/FS21 exercise involved ten countries, 15 ships and several aircraft and land-based assets.

A high number of air and surface warfare (ASuW), ballistic missile defence (BMD) and IAMD scenarios were executed during the exercises.

For the BMD/IAMD tasking, the Dutch frigate was prepared through an upgrade programme that includes new systems such as a new ‘Command Information Centre’ and the new ‘SMART-L MM/N’.

Thales Netherlands CEO Gerben Edelijn said: “The Royal Netherlands Navy has convincingly demonstrated its BMD technology over the past 15 years.

“We are proud and happy to see that the Navy once again proved its value to NATO through this successful Launch on Remote test.

“Thales is the only European supplier capable of supporting navies in IAMD tasks. With this impressive result we can confidently look to the future.”

According to Thales, these systems jointly contribute to a new BMD Early Warning capability for the De Zeven Provinciën class.