AEGIS Missile Test #6 Successful

Released on Thursday, December 11, 2003
United States of America
CG 47 (VLS)
BMD - Ballistic Missile Defense
LEAP - Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile
USS - United States Ship
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy announced the completion of a successful flight test, called FM-6, of the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD).

The FM-6 flight test included detection and tracking of an Aries short-range target Missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii.

Two minutes after target launch, a developmental Standard Missile-3 SM-3 was launched from the Aegis cruiser CG 70 USS Lake Erie. Approximately to minutes later, the SM-3 missile successfully intercepted the target missile using only the LEAP warhead force of collision (hit-to-kill concept) to destroy the target outside the Earth's atmosphere.

After Aries missile launch, the Aegis destroyer DDG 59 USS Russell, located near island of Kauai, detected, and reported the target missile to the USS Lake Erie. With its AN/SPY-1 radar, the USS Lake Erie acquired and tracked the target and developed a fire control solution.

Once the Standard missile was launched, the Aegis weapon system guided the first, second, and third stages of the SM-3 missile in order to perform a flawless intercept of the target. After ejection from the third stage the kinetic warhead, called LEAP, tracked and diverted directly into the target at an altitude of 137 km and at closing speed of 3.7 km/s.

The test was aimed to evaluate the performance of long range surveillance and track capabilities of Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers. These capabilities could be potentially employed to support Ground-based Midcourse Defense.

The FM-6 is the fourth of a planned six flight tests to be carried out during the 2004-2005 time period. The Aegis missile defense is intended to provide sea-based defense against short-to-medium ballistic missiles.

Future test will increase operational realism.


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