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February 2017 Successful Intercept Test

Dear Members and Friends,

A critical missile defense system being developed and close to initial operational capability for the U.S. and Japan Aegis BMD ships and Aegis Ashore Sites in defense of Japan, the defense of Europe, the defense of Guam and potentially the defense of Hawaii had a failure to intercept on its second development intercept test. This system was successful in its first intercept test earlier this year (link) and has a third development test in which it is being launched out of the Aegis Ashore site at PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility) in Kauai scheduled for the end of the year. The SM-3 Block IIA is the interceptor component of the system, and is not operational or in the fleet today. An important part of the testing missile defense systems is that critical lessons are learned from failure, which force solutions quickly and correctly before deploying operational capability. MDA (Missile Defense Agency) will put forward a Failure Review Board to identify the root cause of failure and produce a solution before the system will be enabled to test again. This process can be as long as a year and as short as a month. It would be hopeful that the root cause is identified and solutions put in place prior to the upcoming scheduled date for its third intercept test at the end of this year.

This test was conducted last night off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii by the U.S. John Paul Jones (DDG-53) Baseline 9. Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) destroyer that tested a intercept organically from the ships AN/SPY-1 radar and SM-3 Block IIA interceptor against a medium-range ballistic missile target launched from PMRF in Kauai, Hawaii.

The United States government is in partnership with Japan on the SM-3 Block IIA, (link) the newest missile defense interceptor being developed in the world.  Both Japan and the United States are sharing the technologies, rocketry, investment of this interceptor to bring it through its full design, development, testing for initial operational capability and eventually full production.

Failure is an integral part of the process of development and we should never be afraid of failure or in shock of failure. Failure drives solutions, the quicker you fail the faster you will get solutions.

The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is going through the normal phase of development and should be with a solution ready to test again by the end of this year enabling the right solutions in place for a reliable and fully operational capability.

Deployment of the SM-3 Block IIA has been requested to be in place for the European Phased Adaptive Approach by 2018 with the Aegis Ashore Site in Poland.

 

Click here to read MDA’s official press release from the test.

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