Hat Trick

June 23, 2007

Yesterday, the missile defense test of the Aegis off the cost of Hawaii marked three firsts. It was the first intercept from a United States Destroyer, the USS Decatur (DDG 73); the first active participation by the country of Spain and their Spanish frigate, MENDEZ NUNEZ; and the first integration of sharing information with a ground based missile defense system — the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, THAAD.

Last night, off the cost of Hawaii in the pacific waters, the USS Decatur (DDG 73) located a threatening missile that was launched from the Pacific Test Missile Range in Kauai; tracked that missile and its separating warhead, gave the correct targeting information to the SM3 missile and fired that missile at approximately 10:42 p.m. EDT. At about 100 miles in space, the SM3 intercepted the incoming threatening missile approximately six minutes later.

This is the 9th intercept by the United States sea-based missile defense system, marking the 7th overall intercept for all of the missile defense systems in the past 12 months. This demonstration continues to send a powerful deterrent and dissuasion message to Iran and North Korea, who both have recently test fired several short-range missiles, click here to view more photos.

The significance of this inaugural intercept shot from the USS Decatur (DDG 73) shows a solid movement by the United States Navy and the international community to invest in missile defense and move one step closer to having a global navy, including the US Navy Destroyer Fleet made up of over 50 ships that will be equipped and capable of tracking, discriminating and intercepting ballistic missiles in space. The Department of Defense has requested those 15 destroyers and 3 US Cruisers to have missile defense shoot down and Aegis tracking capability by 2009.

This test was viewed by several international Navy representatives from the Netherlands, Germany and the Spanish who were present at the Pacific Test Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The United States Navy and the Missile Defense Agency are currently working with Japan, Australia, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea and Italy to develop and deploy sea-based missile defense systems.

Having a worldwide presence of missile defense on all of our fleet of ships, including some of our international allies, gives real protection to our allies, our deployed armed forces and friends around the world. These ships send a strong, viable and mobile deterrent to those that choose to threaten or coerce with ballistic missiles.

We greatly appreciate the Hawaiian support from the communities of Kauai and Honolulu for missile defense, as we had several engaging and participating events in Hawaii over the past few days. MDAA’s advocacy efforts have grown tremendously and are becoming influential in the state of Hawaii.

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