4th Missile Defense Intercept in 39 Days

November 7, 2007

Dear Members and Friends,

On November 6th, at 11.12 p.m. EST, a salvo attack of two target single-stage missiles representing SCUD-like capability were fired within seconds of each other off the coast of Kauai at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) with each missile having a 400 km range. These two missile targets were picked up, tracked and discriminated immediately by the Aegis radar on the USS Lake Erie. Approximately 2 minutes later, the crew on the USS Lake Erie launched two Standard Missile-3 Block 1A (SM-3) from their vertical launch tubes in the back and front of the ship. Both target short-range ballistic missiles were destroyed two minutes later with the kinetic energy of the high velocity SM-3s directly hitting these fast moving target missiles about 100 miles up in space and 250 miles northwest over the Pacific Ocean from the PMRF in Kauai.

These intercepts mark the 4th different missile defense intercept in 39 days from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, a remarkable feat both technically and logistically. This type of increased continued success, matched now with the initial proven ability to defeat salvo or multiple firings of ballistic missiles, sends a serious and credible message to Iran, North Korea and those that seek to exploit proliferation. Both North Korea and Iran have launched multiple short range ballistic missiles in their previous and documented testing and both of these countries border international waters.

The Aegis Sea-Based missile defense system is currently deployed on three U.S. Cruisers and six U.S. Destroyers. Each of these ships has a missile load capability of up to 90 for Destroyers and up to 122 for Cruisers.

This Sea-Based Intercept marked the 10th and 11th successful missile intercepts tests for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. These tests mark the 32nd and 33rd successful “hit-to-kill” intercepts since December of 1999, when President Bill Clinton enacted into law that the United States deploy missile defense as soon as it is technically feasible.

With the repeated successes of the U.S. Missile Defense System, it’s noteworthy that on the same day, the House and Senate Defense Appropriations committees concluded their conference and funded the missile defense program at $8.7 billion, 1.9 percent of the Defense Budget for 2008. This is a true bipartisan effort from a Democrat-controlled Congress that only had a reduction of $185 million from the initial request for 2008. It is also of worthy note that an additional $75 million was funded for the Aegis program and its standard missiles.

Yesterday’s successful Aegis test and the support shown by Congress in funding missile defense at $8.7 billion sends a strong message to the world of: “build it and they will not come.”

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