MDA’s Aegis SM-6 Intercept TestAugust 30, 2017
Last night off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) – an Aegis Baseline-9 Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Destroyer – successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target with a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) interceptor in the atmosphere, demonstrating reliability and confidence in the currently deployed capability on U.S. Navy Baseline-9 Aegis ships (Link). Japan is within range of North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles. The SM-6 interceptor is a multi-mission interceptor that has proven and tested capability to intercept – in the earth’s atmosphere – ballistic missiles, advanced maneuvering cruise missiles, and a proven offensive strike capability against targets on land and at sea (Link). The SM-6 interceptor, coupled with Aegis Baseline 9, is the most efficient multi-mission interceptor system produced today. It becomes even more valuable with the limited number of Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes in the eleven U.S. Baseline-9 ships that are operational and deployed today, with three more under construction. More SM-6 interceptors and more Baseline-9 and -10 ships are needed to meet the combatant command requirements of 70 BMD capable ships in the Navy, when there are 33 BMD capable ships in operation today. It is of vital importance to have rigorous testing that provides reliability of the systems and interceptors, that quenches best the missile defense capacity and capability challenges of today and tomorrow for the safety of our nation.
We commend the testing community through the leadership of MDA for another critical achievement in providing confidence to those that operate these systems on our ships, to the leaders that make the decisions to deploy these ships and to all those that will be defended by these ships.