SAN DIEGO – Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a flight test Nov. 6 from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), resulting in three successful near-simultaneous target engagements over the Pacific Ocean. One short-range ballistic missile target was intercepted by a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile, while two low-flying cruise missile targets were engaged by Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA guided missiles near-simultaneously.
The test, designated Flight Test Standard Missile-25 (FTM-25), was conducted jointly with the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Pacific Command. It was the first live fire event of the Aegis Weapon System in IAMD Radar Priority Mode, engaging a ballistic missile target and a raid of cruise missile targets.
“The ballistic missile defense test from John Paul Jones was a historic milestone for the Surface Navy,” said Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander of Naval Surface Forces. “It was incredibly complex and proved the value of our modernization program. For the first time, a single ship shot down a ballistic missile target in the upper atmosphere and simultaneously fired defensive anti-ship missiles. I couldn’t be prouder of these Sailors and civilians who epitomize ‘Warfighting First’ by engineering and executing this mission so successfully.”
At approximately 12:03 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, one short-range ballistic missile target and two cruise missile targets were launched from the PMRF. Following the target launches, John Paul Jones, in Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Radar Priority Mode, detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.
The ship, equipped with the Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched one SM-3 Block IB guided missile to engage the ballistic missile target. The SM-3 missile maneuvered to a point in space and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target’s reentry vehicles, diverted into its path, and destroyed the target with the sheer energy and force of direct impact. Similarly, the ship launched two SM-2 Block IIIA guided missiles to successfully engage the cruise missile targets.
Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
The test represents the 29th successful intercept in 35 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 66th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 82 flight test attempts since 2001.
Aegis BMD is the naval component of the BMDS. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program. Additional information about all elements of the BMDS can be found at www.mda.mil.