Japanese Navy Test Fires SM-3 Missile Interceptor

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The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on Oct. 28 successfully conducted an intercept test of the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, improving the nation’s test record to three-for-four, the MDA announced Oct. 28.

For the test, a ballistic missile target with a 1,000-kilometer range was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The Japanese destroyer Kirishima detected and tracked the target and fired a Raytheon-built SM-3 Block 1A missile that intercepted the target missile about three minutes later at 160 kilometers above the Pacific Ocean, the press release said. The USS Lake Erie and USS Russell also participated in the test.

Japan is the second nation to receive the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, originally developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. for the U.S. Department of Defense. Japan and the United States are collaborating on development of the next-generation SM-3 Block 2A missile that will expand the coverage umbrella of the system.