USS Shiloh Detects, Takes out Unannounced Test
On Thursday, June 22,
the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) intercepted and destroyed a
medium-range ballistic missile outside the earth's atmosphere, in a
real-life simulation of an enemy attack. The test further validates
the ability of the MDA and the US Navy to provide sea-based
national defense against short- and medium-range missile
It also represents the first successful demonstration of
upgraded capabilities to the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), its kinetic
warhead (KW) and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system.
Now-proven upgrades include enhanced discrimination, advanced
guidance navigation and control, and sea-based deployability
"This lethal intercept by the SM-3 KW is confirmation that the
system is fully capable of its mission to defend our warfighters,
homeland and allies against ballistic missile attacks," said Debra
Rub-Zenko, vice president of Boeing Integrated Missile Defense,
which has been partnered with Raytheon since 1996 in the SM-3's
development. "I am extremely proud of the dedication by the entire
team in meeting our commitments to MDA and the Navy and in securing
another layer of defense for our nation."
How realistic was the test? The Navy's Pacific Missile Range
Facility launched the "enemy" medium-range ballistic missile from
Kauai, HI, equipped with a separating warhead. The USS Shiloh, a US
Navy cruiser, detected and tracked the target and launched the SM-3
for its exo-atmospheric engagement. The SM-3 kinetic warhead
successfully acquired the target and computed an accurate guidance
and control intercept trajectory for the hit-to-kill intercept.
A Raytheon press release says the mock warhead on the enemy
missile separated from the booster section, and the ship's crew was
not informed of the target missile's launch time, both of which
presented a more challenging, real-life scenario for the Aegis
Defense Systems' Kauai-based TPS-X (Transportable Surveillance
X-Band) radar tracked the target missile from launch and also
tracked the SM-3 from horizon break through target intercept.
"This test validates the SM-3 Block IA design and paves the way
for us to ramp up production of this urgently needed capability,"
said Edward Miyashiro, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of
Naval Weapon Systems. "The system's and team's continued success is
a testament to our focus on Mission Assurance at every level."