WASHINGTON — A Japanese naval destroyer positioned off the coast of Hawaii shot down a medium-range ballistic missile target Oct. 27 some 160 kilometers above the Pacific Ocean.
The successful intercept marked the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s third test of its U.S.-built Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The test follows a successful intercept in December 2007 and failed attempt in November 2008. Around 1 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time, personnel at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range on the island of Kauai launched a separating, medium-range ballistic missile.
According to an Oct. 28 press release issued by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Japanese destroyer Myoko detected and tracked the missile with its Lockheed Martin-built Aegis system and fired a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1A missile that destroyed the target while it was still in space. Two U.S. ships, the USS Lake Erie and USS Paul Hamilton, also participated in the test and tracked the target missile.
Before returning to Japan, Myoko will be loaded with additional Raytheon-built SM-3 missiles to increase its missile defense capabilities, the release said.