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Latest U.S. Missile Interceptor Tests Successful

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U.S. Navy file photo U.S. Navy file photo

Western Pacific  -- Airmen, sailors and soldiers worked together to successfully conduct a complex missile defense flight test, resulting in the intercept of two medium-range ballistic missile targets.

U.S. Army soldiers from Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and U.S. Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center all worked in the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) exercise.  Other higher headquarters also worked together during the test.

The test stressed the ability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon systems to function in a layered defense role, and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets.

This flight test was planned more than a year ago, and is not in any way connected to events in the Middle East.

Two medium-range ballistic missile targets were launched on operationally realistic trajectories towards a defended area in the vicinity of the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site and surrounding areas in the western Pacific.

Along with overhead satellites providing launch alerts, an Army-Navy radar team detected the targets.  They relayed tracking information to the missile interceptor units.

The USS Decatur with its Aegis Weapon System detected and tracked the first target with its onboard radar. The Aegis BMD weapon system developed a fire control solution, launched a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missile, and successfully intercepted the target.

In the demonstration of layered defense capabilities, a second radar located with the THAAD weapon system, acquired and tracked the target missiles. THAAD developed a fire control solution, launched a missile, and successfully intercepted the second medium-range ballistic missile target.  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 the SM-3 did not achieve an intercept.

Initial indications based on telemetry and other data suggest all components performed as designed. MDA officials will now extensively assess and evaluate system performance based on the test exercise.  U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 62 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 78 flight test attempts since 2001.