SM-3 Block IIA test successfully intercepts ballistic missile

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, KAUAI, Hawaii. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) reports that U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) successfully conducted Flight Test Integrated-03 (FTI-03), an operational live-fire test demonstrating the Aegis Weapon System Engage On Remote capability to track and intercept an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) target with an Aegis Ashore-launched Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Kauai, Hawaii, successfully conducted Flight Test Integrated-03 (FTI-03). U.S. Department of Defense photo.

The FTI-03 test -- consisting of an IRBM target, air-launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 from the broad ocean area thousands of miles southwest of the Aegis Ashore Test site that launched the SM-3 Block IIA Interceptor -- leveraged a ground, air, and space-based sensor/command and control architecture linked by the Ballistic Missile Defense System's Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) suite.

According to information from Raytheon, which manufactures the SM-3 Block IIA, the test is the first successful trial from a land-based launch, as well as the first to rely on tracking data from remote sensors, called "engage on remote."

Officials from Lockheed Martin, which makes the Aegis system, say that the networked capability of the engage on remote technology provides an additional layer of defense to warfighters by providing even more time to react to threats.

MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said of the December 10 test: "Today's successful flight test demonstrated the effectiveness of the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase 3 architecture. It also was of great significance to the future of multi-domain missile defense operations and supports a critical initial production acquisition milestone for the SM-3 Block IIA missile program. This system is designed to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from a real and growing ballistic missile threat. I offer my congratulations to all members of the team, military, civilian, contractors, and allies who helped make this possible."