Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Scores Another Hit

This photo is pretty impressive. The story behind it is even more impressive. It shows the test of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the sea-based component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. So what happened during this joint MDA and Navy test?

 

  • At 11:10 p.m. HST last Tuesday, a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, on Kauai, Hawaii.
  • The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The in-orbit Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators detected and tracked the target.

Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrator (Source: Northrop Grumman)

Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrator (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  • It forwarded track data to USS Lake Erie (CG 70), which is equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, to engage the target with Launch on Remote doctrine.
  • The ship developed a fire control solution from the STSS-D track and launched the SM-3 Block IA guided missile approximately five minutes after the target launched.
  • The SM-3 intercepted the target and vaporized it following a direct-hit minutes after its launch.

This marked the first live-fire intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile using space-based sensors. It was the 24th successful intercept in 30 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002.

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