Press Release

AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense Flight Test Successful

By SpaceRef Editor
November 22, 2002
Filed under , ,

The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy announced today
a successful flight test in the continuing development of the Aegis Ballistic
Missile Defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Flight
Mission-4 (FM-4) involved the firing of a developmental Standard Missile
3 (SM-3) from the Aegis ballistic missile defense cruiser USS LAKE ERIE
(CG-70) to engage a ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific
Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

The target was launched at 2:30 p.m. (HST)/ 7:30 p.m. (EST). The USS
LAKE ERIE equipped with Aegis BMD computer programs and equipment, developed
a fire control solution without any external sensor inputs. Within two
minutes after target launch, USS LAKE ERIEís Aegis Weapon System fired
the SM-3 guided missile. Approximately two minutes later, the missileís
Kinetic Warhead acquired, tracked, and diverted into the target, demonstrating
the Aegis BMD systemís capability to engage the ballistic missile target
in the ascent phase. This was the third consecutive target intercept
flight, demonstrating Aegis BMD system robustness.

The primary objective of this test was to demonstrate the Aegis BMD
system capability to intercept the ballistic missile target in the ascent
phase of flight. Extensive engineering evaluation data was collected
for analyses in preparation for future flight tests. Project officials
will evaluate the data and incorporate changes as required.

With the success of the FM-3 flight test on June 13, 2002, the Aegis
BMD project has accelerated its flight-testing objectives. FM-4 marks
the beginning of a six flight test series to develop an emergency deployment
sea based ballistic missile defense against short to medium range ballistic
missiles. FM-4 is the first developmental flight test against more complex
and stressing ballistic missile engagement scenarios. An extensive ground
test program had already conducted successful testing of elements of
the Aegis BMD system. Air defense variants of the Standard Missile are
currently at sea in over 50 Aegis cruisers and destroyers, with more
than 25 additional ships in the production/planned pipeline.

MDA and the Navy manage the Aegis BMD Project. Raytheon Missile Systems,
Tucson, Ariz., is the prime contractor for the development of the SM-3
missile. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronic and Surveillance Systems,
Moorestown, N.J. manages the development of the Aegis Weapon System
installed in Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

News media points of contact are Cheryl Irwin, Office of the Secretary
of Defense, Public Affairs, at (703) 697-5331, Mr. Chris Taylor, MDA
External Affairs, at (571) 232-0882 (cell)/(703) 697-8001, in Hawaii,
or Maj. Cathy Reardon (703) 697-8491.

Photos are available at; or

For television media, satellite transmission of the launch video is
scheduled as follows: Between 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov.
21, uplink to Telstar-6 TR-C1, upsouth teleport in Atlanta will turn
Telstar-6 TR-C1 to AMC GE-2 TR-K5.

SpaceRef staff editor.