Transparency and TrustFebruary 2, 2018
We commend the transparency of the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency by providing the general public with the results of the Wednesday intercept test of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA. The democracy of our nation and our people are fundamentally based on the government to be truthful and forthcoming. We recognize and applaud the statement to the American public and the world of the valuable learning from this test and being unafraid of failure in the quest of developing new technology and engineering that can make the world a safer place.
Proving out an operational engagement off of non-organic sensors, hundreds or thousands of miles away from the interceptor and from where the interceptor is launched, is the ultimate capability for an overarching ballistic missile defense system to defend exponential more area and against more advanced complex and faster missiles. This engage on remote capability is extremely challenging to do and it is the path to prove out the SM-3 Block IIA against not only medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, but also ballistic missiles of intercontinental ballistic missile speeds.
The following is an official statement from the Office of the Secretary of Defense – Public Affairs, released yesterday at the Pentagon:
The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) conducted a live-fire missile flight test Jan. 31 using a Standard-Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. This was a developmental and operational test of a new capability and utilized a missile variant not yet in production. The primary objective of the test, to intercept an air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IIA missile, was not achieved. However, much was still learned that demonstrated an increase in the effective range of the overall ballistic missile defense system.
Several firsts were accomplished as a result of this mission, which included using both ground and space-based sensors to remotely cue the launch of the interceptor by the Aegis weapon system. This was also the first time an SM-3 Block IIA missile was launched from land using the Aegis Ashore test complex. The test also demonstrated a highly complex multi-domain command, control, battle management and communications system, which was used by operational crews to execute the mission.
“We always make progress every time we conduct a test,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. “While we are disappointed that we did not demonstrate a successful intercept, we did demonstrate significant advances in capability and collected valuable test data that will allow us to further improve our capability and capacity of the ballistic missile defense system. We are committed to protecting and defending our nation, its warfighters, friends and allies against all ranges of ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.”
MDA will conduct an extensive investigation to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies that may have prevented a successful intercept.