Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Defense: Japan achieves ballistic missile intercept in space

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force achieved another ballistic missile intercept in space using a Raytheon Company built Standard Missile-3. During the Oct. 27 test, the SM-3 Block IA missile engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

Personnel at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target. The crew of the Japanese destroyer JS Myoko (DDG-175) detected and tracked the target before firing the intercepting missile.

"Today's hit-to-kill intercept is further proof that Japan can successfully deploy a sea-based ballistic missile defense system," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "The U.S. has a key ally that can defend itself against the growing threat of ballistic missiles."

Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under contract to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, are developing the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile. The new missile will include larger second- and third-stage rocket motors and a larger kinetic warhead to provide a greater area of defense against more sophisticated threats.

SM-3 is being developed as part of MDA's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The missiles are deployed on U.S. Aegis cruisers and destroyers and Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.

Source: Raytheon Company

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