This morning off of San Nicolas Island off the coast of California, the United States and Japan successfully tested the newest missile interceptor in the world. The test opened the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor’s new sensor seeker in space for the first time, positioned the kill vehicle with its new divert and altitude control rockets on a selected star, and proved out an initial discrimination capability. It is a significant accomplishment as with this success the SM-3 Block IIA moves forward toward three intercept tests over the next three years before its deployment on U.S. Baseline 9 Aegis BMD Ships and in the U.S. Aegis Ashore Site in Poland in 2018. Following those deployments, the SM-3 Block IIA will be put on the new Japanese Kongo-class Baseline 9 Aegis BMD Ships and considered for the Romania Aegis Ashore Site. This critical test also validates the new sensor seeker for the redesigned kill vehicle (RKV) of the Ground Based Interceptor, which will eventually replace all of the United States’ current exoatmospheric kill vehicles (EKVs) in its fleet of GBIs.
The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor expands the range of and provides better discrimination than the current SM-3 Block IBs, thereby enabling earlier intercepts and an additional layer of defense. Coupled with the Baseline 9 operating system, the SM-3 Block IIA can launch and engage based on remote sensors from other Aegis BMD Ships and forward land-based radars such as the two deployed AN/TPY-2 radars in Japan today. When deployed, this new interceptor will greatly enhance the U.S. 7th Fleet and Japanese capability to defend Japan and become the core interceptor for the defense of Europe in the Aegis Ashore site in Poland. Iran’s continued testing of medium-range ballistic missiles clearly illustrates the need for this advanced capability in Europe.
The cooperative development investment of over a billion dollars by Japan and over two billion by the United States for this new missile interceptor leads the world in partnership capacity building on missile defense systems. The shared cost burden for development and joint deployment for mutual regional defense of the SM-3 Block IIA sets the example and lays the path forward to the United States and its allies in meeting the growing threat of ballistic missiles efficiently and effectively.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.