A U.S. Navy ship outfitted with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target for the first time in an April 14 test, according to an April 15 press release from the Missile Defense Agency.
The successful FTM-15 flight test was also the first time the Aegis BMD 3.6.1 system fired its Standard Missile (SM)-3 interceptor based on cueing data from a forward-based sensor and before the ship’s own radar detected the target missile, the press release said. The Aegis BMD system is now 21 for 25 in intercept tests since 2002, the agency said.
This was also the final flight test for the currently deployed SM-3 Block 1A interceptor, built by Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Ariz., said Frank Wyatt, Raytheon’s vice president for air and missile defense systems. Flight testing of the more capable SM-3 Block 1B interceptor will begin late this summer, Wyatt said during a media briefing.
For the test, a Lockheed Martin-built LV-2 target was launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Based on tracking data from a forward-based AN/TPY-2 radar, the USS O’Kane fired an interceptor from its position some 3,600 kilometers away off the coast of Hawaii, the press release said. Once the ship’s radar detected the target, it fed tracking data to the airborne interceptor, which homed in on the target and destroyed it.