12/12/2015: The Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, announced the successful completion of a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA flight test from the Point Mugu Sea Range, San Nicolas Island, California.
This test, designated SM-3 Block IIA Cooperative Development Controlled Test Vehicle-02, was a live fire of the SM-3 Block IIA.
The missile successfully demonstrated flyout through kinetic warhead ejection.
No intercept was planned, and no target missile was launched.
Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
The SM-3 Cooperative Development Project is the joint U.S.-Japan development of a 21-inch diameter variant of the SM-3, designated Block IIA, to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is the naval component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.
According to Raytheon:
SM-3® is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.
This “hit-to-kill” missile interceptor uses an exoatmospheric “kill vehicle,” to collide with targets in space, a capability that’s been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet.
The massive collision of the kill vehicle hitting its target obliterates the threat completely; explosives are not necessary.
The resulting impact is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.
The SM-3 program is a critical piece of the United States’ Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense.
Currently, U.S. Navy ships carrying SM-3s deployed off Europe’s coast provide the continent’s only “upper tier” defense from the growing threat of ballistic missiles.
Starting this year, the first land-based SM-3 site will become operational in Romania, further enhancing Europe’s protection.
The flexibility of SM-3 to be both land- and sea-based offers countries that do not have ballistic missile defense-enabled navies to take advantage of the SM-3’s incredible capacity to protect large areas of land, often referred to as regional defense, with fewer interceptor sites when compared to other “lower tier” missile defense solutions.