For Sea to Shining Sea

July 31, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

MDAA was at the Pacific Range Missile Facility in Barking sands, Kauai, Hawaii yesterday and witnessed off the northwest coast a few hundred miles from Kauai on a breezy warm afternoon, the USS Hopper ( DDG 70 ) destroyer which successfully tracked, discriminated and intercepted an ARAV ballistic missile target in its ascent phase. Time of interception was at 5:43pm HST, 3 minutes after the target missile was launched from the Pacific Test Range Facility (PRMF) located on Barking Sands, Kauai. The target missile represented a ballistic missile similar in speed, acceleration and burn of the same short range missiles fired by North Korea on July 2nd and 4th of this year. This intercept marks a first by a U.S. Aegis Destroyer and the second intercept in the ascent phase by the Aegis missile defense system.

The ascent phase intercept is a concept of striking a missile after its initial boost phase as it continues to climb to its apogee, and that is what the current administration and the Missile Defense Agency are emphasizing as one of their future growth areas. They believe it will add another important layer to the mid-course and terminal layer defenses deployed today.

Another ARAV target ballistic missile was launched approximately an hour later from PRMF in Barking Sands that was tracked and discriminated by the newest software upgrade 4.0. 1 of the current Navy Aegis system and its SPY radar installed on the USS Lake Erie (CG 70). This new sensoring capability enables the Aegis Missile Defense to expand and enhance its existing radar capability so that it can have more range and be more effective in its early ascent phase defense mission as well as the mid-course mission, to do more than the current deployed versions. This system will be used with the future SM3 block1b and the SM3 block 2 missiles, and that will allow the United States more reach into North Korea and Iran from the adjacent seas.

The USS Lake Erie (CG-70) and the USS Hopper (DDG 70) were accompanied by the USS Destroyer O’Kane (DDG 77). The USS Destroyer O’Kane was also involved in the test as it simulated tracking and interception of the target ballistic missile. The US Navy Aegis system is one of the most successful missile defense systems that the US has developed and deployed. The Aegis missile defense systems has had 19 successful intercepts over the recent years.

This demonstration of US technical prowess in a system that is in place today in the oceans and seas of the world brings high confidence to the US military and our allies to defend and protect against ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran. It is has been a great investment by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Congress, the current Administration and past Administrations that is making our world safer.

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