U.S. Begins Flight Testing Advanced Missile Defense Interceptor

 The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted, on the 7th of June, the first flight test of the Raytheon Company Standard Missile-3 Block IIA. The interceptor’s bigger rocket motors and more capable kill vehicle will engage threats sooner and protect larger regions from short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.

The final assembly of the Raytheon-made Standard Missile-3 Block IIA used during the flight test was delivered to the Missile Defense Agency from the company’s Redstone Missile Integration Facility in Huntsville, Ala.

 "The SM-3 Block IIA program reflects the MDA’s commitment to maturing this capability for the defense of our nation, deployed forces, and our allies abroad," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "The success of this test keeps the program on track for a 2018 deployment at sea and ashore."

The mission, Control Test Vehicle-01, evaluated the SM-3 Block IIA’s nosecone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second and third stage rocket motor separation.

During the test, a SM-3 Block IIA was launched from a MK 41 launcher located at the U.S. Navy’s Point Mugu Sea Range on Saint Nicolas Island in California. A target intercept was not included in the testing scenario.

 SM-3s destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space using nothing more than sheer impact equivalent to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.

More than 200 SM-3s have been delivered to date.

SM-3 Block IB is deployed at sea and will be deployed ashore in 2015 in Romania.

SM-3 Block IIA is on track for deployment at sea and ashore in 2018.

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