The US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Paul Jones has successfully test fired two Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual I missiles to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea off the coast of Hawaii.
The Raytheon-built SM-6 missiles have been designed to carry out anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and sea-based terminal ballistic missile defence missions.
USS John Paul Jones' missiles were launched from the vessel’s Aegis combat system, which successfully detected, tracked, engaged and launched both the missiles against the medium-range ballistic missile target.
The test was named Flight Test Standard Missile– 27 Event 2 (FTM-27 E2), and highlighted the weapon system's integrated capabilities, which have been continually upgraded to counter advanced threats.
The Lockheed Martin-produced Aegis combat system can be deployed to attack land targets, submarines and surface vessels concurrently, while automatically protecting the naval fleet against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
SM-6 is intended for deployment by the US Navy's fleet to provide over-the-horizon offensive and defensive capability by leveraging the time-tested standard missile airframe and propulsion system.
The latest firing was the seventh successful intercept test of the Aegis Baseline 9.1 (BMD 5.0CU) ballistic missile defence (BMD) tracking and engagement capabilities, and represents the third successful SM-6 BMD intercept test using Baseline 9.1.
Lockheed Martin Aegis BMD director Paul Klammer said: “The recent ballistic missile defence test off the coast of Hawaii demonstrates that Aegis can successfully execute complicated missions against a medium-range ballistic missile target.
“This latest test continues to demonstrate the cutting-edge capabilities and reliability of the Aegis Baseline 9 system.”
The SM-6 missile was first tested by the US Navy in a flight test mission conducted in August 2015, while the second test was carried out in late 2016.
Image: A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, during Flight Test Standard Missile-27 Event 2. Photo: courtesy of Latonja Martin, Missile Defense Agency.