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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 185-02
November 20, 2002

Missile Defense Agency Conducts Flight Mission 4

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy are scheduled to conduct Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Flight Mission 4 (FM-4) flight test on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002 off Hawaii. The launch window is open between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST.

The test involves the firing of a developmental Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) from the Aegis ballistic missile defense cruiser USS Lake Erie, and the launch of a ballistic missile target from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Kauai, Hawaii. The USS Lake Erie will track the ballistic missile target with the Aegis AN/SPY-1 radar. After a fire control solution is developed, the ship will fire the SM-3 against the target in an ascent phase engagement in order to intercept.

With the success of the FM-3 flight test on June 13, 2002, which was the first successful intended intercept, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) project has accelerated its flight-testing objectives. FM-4 marks the beginning of a six flight test series to develop an emergency deployment sea-based ballistic missile defense against short to medium range ballistic missiles.

MDA and the U.S. Navy manage the Aegis BMD element of the Ballistic Missile System (BMDS). Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is the prime contractor for the development of the SM-3 Missile, and Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems, Moorestown, N.J., manages the development of the Aegis Weapon System installed in Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

For television media, satellite transmission of the launch video is scheduled as follows: Between 10 p.m. and 12 midnight Thursday, Nov. 21, uplink to Telstar-6 TR-C1, upsouth teleport in Atlanta will turn Telstar-6 TR-C1 to AMC GE-2 TR-K5.

News media points of contact are Chris Taylor, MDA External Affairs, at (571) 232-0882 (cell) or (703) 697-8001, in Hawaii; or Maj. Cathy Reardon (703) 697-8491, or Cheryl Irwin, Office of the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) at (703) 697-5331.

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