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Missile successfully shot down in test off Kauai

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 12:33 p.m. HST, May 16, 2013

For the 10th time in three years, the Pearl Harbor-based cruiser USS Lake Erie successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile target that was launched from Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility.

The latest test missile intercept occurred at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday when a short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, the Missile Defense Agency announced. 

The target missile left Kauai heading northwest. 

The crew of the Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.

The Navy cruiser is equipped with an Aegis BMD weapon system and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile. The missile released its kinetic warhead, which destroyed the target. 

The test marks the 10th time in three years that the USS Lake Erie and its crew successfully performed at-sea operations against cruise and ballistic missile targets using the second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile system. The last successful intercept by the Lake Erie occurred Feb. 12.

In March, the White House said the U.S. is fully capable of defending itself against a North Korean ballistic missile attack after Pyongyang threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

Last year, two Pearl Harbor-based Aegis ballistic missile defense destroyers, with similar missile intercept capabilities, had their missions altered, with the USS Russell’s seven-month deployment extended and the USS O’Kane rerouted in the Sea of Japan to monitor another North Korean missile test, which failed.

The Kauai test is the 25th successful intercept in 31 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 59th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 74 flight tests since 2001. 

The Aegis missile system is the naval component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. 

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