The Pearl Harbor-based USS Lake Erie fired a test missile that hit a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean in the second successful test of the Navy’s Standard Missile-3 Block 1B interceptor missile.
The Missile Defense Agency said the intercept happened at about 11:15 p.m. Hawaii time. The target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. The USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar and the Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block 1B missile.
The USS Lake Erie continued to track the target and sent trajectory information to the SM-3 Block IB missile in-flight. The intercepter missile maneuvered to a point in space, as designated by the fire control solution, and released its warhead, which flew into the path of a target and destroyed it with the force of a direct impact in what the Navy calls a hit-to-kill intercept.
“Initial indications are that all components performed as designed resulting in a very accurate intercept,” the missile agency said in a news release.
The USS Lake Erie also conducted a successful test of the SM-3 Block 1B missile and Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system on May 9.
The Missile Defense Agency called Tuesday night’s test a “critical accomplishment” for the second phase of the missile defense system, which scheduled to be deployed in Romania in 2015.
This was the 23rd successful intercept in 28 flight test firings for the Aegis BMD program. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, it is the 54th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 68 flight tests since 2001.
Aegis BMD is the sea-based midcourse component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.