The Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully completed the first flight of a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA.
The test missile was launched from a MK 41 launcher located at the US Navy’s Point Mugu Sea Range, San Nicolas Island, California.
Under the SM-3 co-operative development project, the US and Japan have developed a 21in diameter SM-3 missile to combat with medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The test assessed the missile’s nose cone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second and third stage rocket motor separation.
Raytheon Missile Systems president Dr Taylor Lawrence said: "The SM-3 Block IIA programme reflects the MDA’s commitment to maturing this capability for the defence of our nation, deployed forces and our allies abroad.
"The success of this test keeps the programme on track for a 2018 deployment at sea and ashore."
US MDA spokesman Rick Lehner was quoted by Reuters saying the countries invested $1bn each for the project.
Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance founder Riki Ellison said testing will be carried out for three more years and the missile will be later used on US Navy Aegis ships, Japan’s Kongo ships and Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania.
Planned to be deployed in 2018, the SM-3 is designed to combat incoming ballistic missile threats in space, with an impact equivalent to a 10t truck travelling at 600mph.
The SM-3 Block IB is scheduled for land-based deployment in Romania in 2015.
Image: The SM-3 test missile lifted-off from a MK 41 launcher at the US Navy’s Point Mugu Sea Range. Photo: courtesy of US Missile Defense Agency.