Missile Defense Test Succeeds Against Medium-range Targets
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2013 A complex missile defense flight test today resulted in the intercept of two medium-range ballistic missile targets, Defense Department officials said.
The flight test was planned more than a year ago, officials added, and is not in any way connected to events in the Middle East.
It involved the Missile Defense Agency, Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with soldiers from the Army’s Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, sailors aboard the Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS Decatur, and Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center.
The test was conducted near the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site and surrounding areas in the western Pacific. Officials said the test stressed the ability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon systems to function in a layered defense architecture and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets.
The two medium-range ballistic missile targets were launched on operationally realistic trajectories toward a defended area near Kwajalein, officials said. Along with overhead space assets providing launch alerts, an Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control radar in forward-based mode detected the targets and relayed track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications system for further transmission to defending Ballistic Missile Defense System assets.
The USS Decatur with its Aegis Weapon System detected and tracked the first target with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The Aegis ballistic missile defense weapon system developed a fire control solution, launched a Standard Missile-3 Block IA missile, and successfully intercepted the target.
In a demonstration of Ballistic Missile Defense System layered defense capabilities, a second AN/TPY-2 radar in terminal mode located with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system acquired and tracked the target missiles. THAAD developed a fire control solution, launched a THAAD interceptor missile, and successfully intercepted the second medium-range ballistic missile target, officials said.
THAAD was operated by soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment. As a planned demonstration of THAAD's layered defense capabilities, a second THAAD interceptor was launched at the target destroyed by Aegis as a contingency in the event that the SM-3 did not achieve an intercept.
Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, Pentagon officials said. Missile Defense Agency officials will extensively assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test, they added.
U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 62 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 78 flight test attempts since 2001, officials said.