Dear Members and Friends,
Yesterday off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, the United States Navy, in conjunction with the Missile Defense Agency, successfully intercepted a two-stage target missile from a sea-based platform (USS Lake Erie CG 70, Aegis Cruiser); it destroyed the incoming warhead with a Standard Missile Three (SM3) by pure kinetic energy or “Hit to Kill” technology using no explosive device or area fragmentation. This remarkable technical feat was accomplished by hitting and acquiring the target warhead around three feet long with a velocity of over 6,000 miles per hour and at an approximate altitude of 100 miles in space. The target missile used in this exercise was similar in speed, size and staging of North Korea’s currently deployed No Dong intermediate range missile and its derivative, the Iranian Shahab-3 intermediate range which is also currently deployed in Iran.
This test was a major technical leap over the previous six successful intercept tests in that the target warhead was reduced from around 27 feet (SCUD missile length) to 3 feet (No Dong and ICBM warhead length) and that the target’s speed increased by over 2,000 miles per hour. The detection, tracking, discrimination and up linked communication was performed by a SPY upgraded radar outfitted on both the USS Hooper DDG 70, Aegis Destroyer and the USS Lake Erie CG 70 Aegis Cruiser, which were both involved in the testing exercise.
Yesterday’s success implies that U.S. and Allied Aegis Ships outfitted with missile defense systems would be a strong deterrent to and protection from the intermediate range missile threats to Europe, Japan, southern and northeastern Asia. Allied Aegis missile defense ships would include Japan, Spain, South Korea, Norway and Australia. In the future, the nations of Italy, India and Taiwan could be similarly outfitted. It should also be noted that today, the United States has nine Aegis Destroyers with missile defense tracking capabilities and two Aegis Cruisers with missile defense launch capabilities.
For the United States, this test is both technically and diplomatically significant. Because of this successful test, the United States demonstrates that it has the proven capability of intercepting a intermediate range, multiple stage missile equipped with a small, fast warhead. The United States is now in the position to protect, deter, dissuade and stop the proliferation of intermediate range missiles which threaten our nation, troops, allies, and world.
This test sends a loud and clear message to North Korea, Iran, and other potential enemies. Furthermore, terrorist organizations and other rogue entities must question the feasibility of spending millions or even billions of dollars necessary to acquire ballistic missile technology and WMD.
As a nation, we need to continue to demand that our federal Representatives and President ensure the development and numerical fielding of missile defense systems to protect our country, our troops, and citizens of the world from the threat of intermediate missiles currently deployed and their continued proliferation.
Build it and they will not come!