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The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is accelerating developmental efforts in an effort to complete the development and begin deployment of more comprehensive missile defense systems, anticipating the growing threat of global missile proliferation. In the past two weeks, the Missile defense Agency performed three successful intercepts involving an Aegis BMD ship and land-mobile THAAD system, in parralel to a large scale distributed ground test, involving all major ballistic missile defense systems. (More...)

Yesterday, an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system performed yesterday a complex, a first test of a simultaneous interception of two ballistic missile targets using two Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) missiles.

Both SM-3 Block IA missiles were fired from the Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70). The test marked the 10th and 11th A ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, during a missile intercept test conducted Nov. 6, 2007 in  the Pacific Ocean. Photo: US Navysuccessful intercepts for the Aegis BMD since tests began in 2002. The target missiles were fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, HI.

The test also involved a Japanese guided missile destroyer, JS Kongo which provided detection, track and simulated engagement of the ballistic missile targets using its newly-installed Aegis BMD Weapon System. Kongo will be the first ship in Japan's fleet to have a sea-based BMD capability. This destroyer is scheduled to conduct Japan's first firing flight test in late 2007. The AEGIS BMD system is managed jointly by the Missile defense Agency and the US Navy. The system is developed by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, while Raytheon provides the SPY-1 shipborne radar and missiles and Boeing providing the 'hit-to-kill' exo-atmospheric warhead, under subcontract to Raytheon.

Two weeks ago another missile defense system built by Lockheed Martin was demonstrated a successful exo-atmospheric target kill, during a test at the PMRF. According to Tom McGrath, program manager and vice president for THAAD at Lockheed Martin, the test demonstrates THAAD's unique capability to destroy tactical ballistic missiles outside and inside the Earth's atmosphere. More tests are scheduled at PMRF through 2009. Lockheed Martin expects missile deliveries to begin in FY 09, to support the first unit to be equipped with the missile. Since November 2005 the THAAD Weapon System conducted seven successful flight tests including four tests involving the successful intercept of threat representative targets. With the system's transition to PMRF in 2007, THAAD performed four successful tests, including high endo-atmospheric, low altitude, low endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric intercept profiles.

These test firings are held in parallel to a comprehensive distributed ground test involving all major ballistic missile defense systems, including fielded sensors, command and control, battle management and communications. Interceptor bases are also integrated, responding to simulated alerts. Among the elements taking part in the exercise are the Cobra Dane radar at Shemya, Alaska, the Sea-based X-band radar located in the Pacific Ocean, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense fire control nodes at the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo and Fort Greely, Alaska; and the two interceptor missile sites at Fort Greely and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Also participating are U.S. Navy Aegis ships.


 


 

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