The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force achieved another ballistic missile intercept in space using a Raytheon-built Standard Missile-3.
During the test on Tuesday, the SM-3 Block IA missile engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
Personnel at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target. The crew of the Japanese destroyer JS Myoko (DDG-175) detected and tracked the target before firing the intercepting missile.
The hit-to-kill intercept “is further proof that Japan can successfully deploy a sea-based ballistic missile defence system,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president in a company statement. “The US has a key ally that can defend itself against the growing threat of ballistic missiles.”
Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under contract to the US Missile Defense Agency and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, are developing the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile. The new missile will include larger second- and third-stage rocket motors and a larger kinetic warhead to provide a greater area of defence against more sophisticated threats.
SM-3 is being developed as part of MDA’s sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The missiles are deployed on US Aegis cruisers and destroyers and Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.
Pic: A SM-3 fired from a US Aegis cruiser