Press Release

Sea-Based Midcourse (SMD) Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Midcourse Test Completed

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2002
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The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful flight test in the continuing development of a Sea-Based Midcourse (SMD) Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) on Friday, January 25. Flight Mission-2 (FM-2) involved the launch of a developmental Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and kinetic warhead (KW) interceptor from the Aegis Cruiser USS Lake Erie and an Aries target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The target was launched at 9 p.m. EST Friday. About eight minutes later, the USS Lake Erie, equipped with Aegis Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) computer programs and equipment, and having tracked the target with the Aegis SPY-1 radar and developed a fire control solution, launched the newly-developed SM-3. The SM-3 acquired, tracked, and diverted toward the target, demonstrating SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead (KW) guidance, navigation and control. Although not a primary objective, during this early developmental test, the KW was aimed at the target, resulting in a hit-to-kill intercept at approximately 9:18 p.m. EST.

The primary objective of this test was to evaluate SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead guidance, navigation and control. Extensive engineering evaluation data was collected for analyses in preparation for future flight tests. Program officials will evaluate the data and incorporate changes as required.

Friday’s test was the fourth in a planned series of nine developmental test flights for the SMD program. An extensive ground test program had already conducted successful testing of elements of the SM-3 kinetic warhead. This mission also included the first fully operational SM-3 with a live Solid Divert and Attitude Control System to steer the KW into the target. Air defense variants of the Standard Missile are currently at sea on over 50 Aegis cruisers and destroyers, with more than 25 additional ships in the production/planned pipeline.

The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy sponsor the SMD Program. 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 on board Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

News media points of contact are Cheryl Irwin, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs, at (703) 697-5331 or Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, MDA External Affairs, at (703) 697-8997.

Background Information

  • Midcourse Defense Segment, BMDO

  • SpaceRef staff editor.