US conducts successful missile defense test
Updated: 2013-05-17 10:30
WASHINGTON - The US military conducted a missile defense test on Wednesday night, with an interceptor missile successfully intercepting and destroying a short-range target missile over the Pacific Ocean, the Department of Defense announced on Thursday.
The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area of the Pacific, according to the department's Missile Defense Agency.
Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched an SM-3 Block IB missile, the agency said in a statement.
The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space based on guidance from the ship's Aegis system and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead destroyed the target in a "hit-to-kill" intercept using force of a direct impact, said the agency.
"Initial indications are that all components performed as designed," it added.
It noted that this test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis system and standard missile, providing capability for engagement of longer-range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles.
The test is the 25th successful intercept in 31 flight test attempts for the Aegis program since flight testing began in 2002.
Aegis is the sea-based component of the US Ballistic Missile Defense System, designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.