The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy have announced that the Aegis
Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) successfully
intercepted a ballistic missile target outside earth's atmosphere during Flight
Test Mission 04-1 on February 24, 2005. The test was conducted over the Pacific
Ocean and the ballistic missile target was in the descent phase of its flight
when it was intercepted and destroyed.
During the test, Lockheed-Martin's Aegis weapon system aboard cruiser USS Lake
Erie (CG 70) and range sensors confirmed a direct hit of the target ballistic
missile over the Pacific Ocean. The destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) also
participated in the test using a new Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Signal
Processor (Aegis BSP). USS Russell conducted real-time detection, tracking and
discrimination of the target, as well as analysis of target interception. This
was the first time Aegis BSP was used in an at sea flight test mission.
In addition, this test represented the fifth time the Aegis weapon system
successfully guided Raytheon's SM-3 Block I missile to a ballistic missile
target. Other key elements of Aegis BMD are the SPY-1 radar and the Mk-41
vertical launching system. This test also demonstrated the Aegis BMD Emergency
Deployment capability, which will allow the US Navy to defend the United States
from ballistic missile attacks before the system gets green light for
operational deployment. Japan already has decided to become the first export
customer for Aegis BMD implementing the system along with SM-3 on its Kongo-class
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