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Kauai HI (SPX) Nov 04, 2010
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) achieved its third ballistic missile intercept using a Raytheon Standard Missile-3. During Thursday's test, which marked the 18th SM-3 intercept, 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 JMSDF destroyer, operating off the coast of Kauai, detected and tracked the target before firing the missile.
"This successful flight test adds to SM-3's long and impressive list of hit-to-kill intercepts," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "Japan now has a fourth destroyer fully qualified to employ SM-3 against threat ballistic missiles."
Raytheon is developing SM-3 as part of the Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, and more than 100 SM-3s have been delivered to date.
The missiles are deployed on U.S. Aegis cruisers and destroyers and JMSDF destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.
The SM-3 Block IA was initially fielded in 2006. It is the third variant of SM-3, with prior versions supporting early testing and providing initial deployed capability. In 2008, Raytheon modified an SM-3 Block IA to destroy a failed satellite in space.
Raytheon's next-generation SM-3 Block IB will incorporate a throttleable divert and attitude control system and guidance and sensor upgrades to improve performance while maintaining the reliability of the Block IA.
Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under contract to the MDA and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, are developing the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile.
The new missile will provide increasingly longer range and a larger kinetic warhead for a greater area of defense against more sophisticated threats.
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