Aegis Combat System SM-3 successfully trials against medium-range ballistic missile

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, KAUAI, Hawaii. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Finn (DDG-113) recently conducted a successful intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test off the west coast of Hawaii. SM-3 is the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched at sea and on land.

The SM-3 Block IIA -- developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan as part of the AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system -- has larger rocket motors and a bigger kinetic warhead than previous interceptors, which maker Raytheon Corp. says enhances its effectiveness against evolving threats.

Aerojet Rocketdyne also reported that its MK 72 booster provided the first-stage propulsion on the SM-3 Block IIA, with the company’s Throttling Divert and Attitude Control System (TDACS) maneuvering the kinetic warhead to successfully impact the ballistic-missile target.

MDA officials stated that the test met its objectives, based on observations and initial data review, and comment that program officials will continue to evaluate system performance.

Image: Raytheon