A high-tech warhead successfully destroyed a separating ballistic missile in a crucial test of technology to protect against more sophisticated regional ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran, the U.S. military reports.
The Standard Missile-3 Block IB interceptor is an upgrade to current ballistic missile defense system technology and part of President Barack Obama's plan to guard NATO's European territory.
For the test, a target missile was launched at 11:15 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Tuesday from a missile range on Kauai.
Following the target launch, a U.S. Navy warship, the USS Lake Erie, in a remote patch of the mid-Pacific Ocean, detected and tracked the missile with its onboard radar, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB interceptor.
The warship continued to track the target and send trajectory information to the interceptor in-flight.
“The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space, as designated by the fire control solution, and released its kinectic warhead,” the Department of Defense said in a news release.
“The kinetic warhead acquired the target, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the threat in a hit-to-kill intercept.”
This was the second successful test of the system, following an earlier success in May.
“Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, resulting in a very accurate intercept,” the military said.
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