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Pearl Harbor-based ship shoots down ballistic missile in test

    An SM-3 Block 1B interceptor missile is launched from the Pearl Harbor-based USS Lake Erie off the coast of Kauai on Sept. 18.

For the 12th time in three years, the Pearl Harbor-based cruiser USS Lake Erie has shot down a short-range ballistic missile target that was launched from Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility.

This was the fourth time this year that the Lake Erie has successfully passed a missile-intercept test. The other three were on Feb. 12, May 15 and Sept. 18.

The Pentagon today reported that the intercept occurred at 7:33 p.m. Thursday outside the earth’s atmosphere.

A medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the crew of the Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB guided missile to engage the target.

The missile in space released its kinetic warhead, which destroyed the target.

Wednesday’s test is the 28th successful intercept in 34 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 64th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 80 flight test attempts since 2001.

The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy are jointly developing Ballistic Missile Defense as part of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The Navy now has 27 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system-equipped warships. It plans to buy seven new Aegis BMD-equipped destroyers, and has also planned to develop two Aegis shore systems to perform ballistic missile defense.

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