The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully flight
tested its first Raytheon-built Standard Missile-3. The
SM-3 Block IA missile engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 60 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
Personnel at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target while the crew of the Japanese destroyer JS KONGO (DDG-173) fired the intercepting missile.
"Today's intercept truly paves the way for Japan to deploy a sea-based ballistic missile defense system," said Ed Miyashiro, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president. "The U.S. has gained an important ally that can now defend itself against the threat of ballistic missiles."
During the test, the Japanese crew exchanged track information via
satellite with U.S. naval assets, demonstrating missile defense
interoperability between the two countries. This test was the 12th
successful intercept for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system's SM-3.
Japan is working with Raytheon and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop and deploy the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile, which will provide a larger area of defense against more sophisticated threats.
SM-3 is being developed as part of the MDA's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The missiles will be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defend against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight.