The Navy is currently testing its Aegis SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which is supposed to intercept missiles aimed at the U.S.
On Wednesday, the military launched a medium-range ballistic missile from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii, which the destroyer John Paul Jones detected and tracked on AN/SPY-1 phased array radar, but the intercept reportedly failed, according to Defense News.
According to the Navy’s website, “The AEGIS Weapon System (AWS) is a centralized, automated, command-and-control (C2) and weapons control system that was designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill. The heart of the system is the AN/SPY-1, an advanced, automatic detect and track, multi-function phased-array radar. This high-powered radar is able to perform search, track, and missile guidance functions simultaneously, with a track capacity of more than 100 targets. The first Engineering Development Model (EDM-1) was installed in the test ship USS Norton Sound (AVM 1) in 1973.”
Using sheer force to destroy its target, the Aegis SM-3 Block IIA interceptor’s “kill vehicle” hit threats with as much force as a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. It’s like intercepting a bullet with another bullet.
Developed by Raytheon, the land-based SM-3 interceptor is being used for missile defense in Europe. “Currently, U.S. Navy ships carrying SM-3 interceptors deployed off Europe’s coast provide the continent’s only ‘upper tier’ defense from the growing threat of ballistic missiles,” according to Raytheon’s website.
The John Paul Jones successfully shot down a target in February with this newest version of the SM-3, marking the first intercept using Baseline 9.2C.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Thursday that “program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of the test data,” according to a news release.
In the wake of increasing threats from North Korea, the SM-3 Block IIA is a joint project between the U.S. and Japan.
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