U.S. Missile Defense Agency Intercepts Three Targets in “Raid” Test

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WASHINGTON —  Three missile targets were engaged and destroyed over the Pacific Ocean by a like number of Raytheon-built interceptors fired from a U.S. Navy destroyer in an Nov. 6 exercise testing the Aegis missiles shield’s response to a multitiered attack.

“This test showcases the U.S.’s ability to defend against numerous ballistic and cruise missile threats in ‘raid’ scenarios,” Raytheon Missile Systems President Taylor Lawrence said in a press release the Tucson, Arizona-based company issued after the test. “No other nation in the world has the capability to do what the U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency demonstrated today.”

The targets — one short-range ballistic missile and two cruise missiles — were all launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, at 5:03 p.m. Eastern time, the MDA said in a press release. An AN/SPY-1 radar aboard the USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked the three targets. The destroyer, equipped with the Lockheed Martin-built Aegis Weapon System, quickly fired two Standard Missile (SM)-2 Block 3A interceptors to destroy the low-flying cruise missiles and an SM-3 Block 1B to take out the ballistic missile. After reaching space, the SM-3 released its kinetic warhead, which acquired and tracked the target missile’s re-entry vehicle and moved into its path, destroying it with the direct impact.

The exercise, known as FTM-25, enables ships “to defend themselves against incoming cruise missiles while simultaneously tracking and defeating ballistic missiles threatening other areas,” said Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

The test marked the 29th intercept in 35 attempts for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program since 2002, according to the MDA release.