First Intercept Test

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, in conjunction with U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command, and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, successfully conducted the first intercept flight test today (December 9, Hawaii Standard Time) of a land-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system and SM-3 (Standard Missile) Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile, launched from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Kauai, Hawaii.

The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility
The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility

During the test, a target representing a medium-range ballistic missile was air-launched from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft over the broad ocean area southwest of Hawaii. An AN/TPY-2 radar in Forward Based Mode, located at PMRF, detected the target and relayed target track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communication (C2BMC) system. The Aegis Weapon System at the Aegis Ashore site received track data from C2BMC and used its component AN/SPY-1 radar to acquire, track, and develop a fire control solution to engage the target. The Aegis Weapon System then launched the SM-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile from its Vertical Launch System. The SM-3’s kinetic warhead acquired the target reentry vehicle, diverted into its path, and destroyed the target using the kinetic force of a direct impact.

The primary purpose of the test, designated Flight Test Operational-02 Event 1a, was to assess the operational effectiveness of the Aegis Ashore capability as part of a larger BMDS architecture.  Aegis Ashore uses a nearly identical configuration of the Vertical Launch System, fire control system, and SPY-1 radar currently in use aboard Aegis BMD cruisers and destroyers deployed at sea around the world.

Vice Admiral James D. Syring, MDA Director, said, «Today’s test demonstrated that the same Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense capability that has been fielded at sea and operational for years, will soon be operational ashore as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) Phase 2 capability in Romania. I am very proud of the tremendous effort by the entire government/industry team in executing this vitally important mission for our Nation and our allies».

This flight test demonstrates Aegis Ashore capability as an important component of Phase 2 of the EPAA, of which MDA plans to announce a technical capability declaration by the end of this month.

The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.