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Successful Intercept Claimed In US Missile Defense Test

The USS Lake Erie. Watch Video of the Flight Test Mission here.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 27, 2007
A US Navy Aegis cruiser simultaneously intercepted a ballistic missile and a cruise missile in a test over the Pacific, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

"The test demonstrated the USS Lake Erie's ability to engage a ballistic missile threat and defend itself from attack at the same time," the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said on Thursday.

The Lake Erie is one of a growing fleet of US warships equipped with advanced radars and high-speed missiles capable of intercepting short and medium range ballistic missiles.

In the test Thursday near Hawaii, the cruiser used a Standard Missile-3 Block IA missile to intercept a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

At the same time, a US Navy aircraft launched a cruise missile to mimic an attack on the Lake Erie, which engaged it with an SM-2 missile, a spokesman for the agency said.

"It was intercepted at 15,000 feet altitude, 37 miles from the ship," said Chris Taylor.

Earlier, the Missile Defense Agency described the target in a press release as having "characteristics similar to a high performance aircraft."

The ballistic missile target was intercepted 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles (402 kilometers) northwest of Kauai, marking the system's eighth successful intercept in 10 flight tests, the agency said.

earlier related report
Raytheon Missiles Engage Ballistic Missile and Airborne Targets Over the Pacific Ocean
Kauai, Hawaii, April 26 - In a first-of-its-kind dual missile defense test today, Raytheon-produced Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) simultaneously engaged targets over the Pacific Ocean.

This was the first time a U.S. Navy ship demonstrated simultaneous ship engagements against both cruise and ballistic missile targets. It was the eighth successful intercept for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system's SM-3.

The SM-3 Block IA destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target in space while SM-2 Block IIIA engaged a cruise missile threat at a lower altitude. Both intercepting missiles were fired from guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) by the ship's crew. The ballistic missile target was launched from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. The subsonic cruise missile target was launched from a range aircraft.

"The success of the SM-3 program is a validation of our strong Missile Defense Agency, Navy and contractor team," said Louise Francesconi, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "This strong customer relationship and our ability to balance kill vehicle, missile and system requirements helped to ensure a successful mission."

This test, Flight Test Mission-11, was the second with the Block IA version of SM-3, and the first IA with a full-capability solid divert and attitude control system. Raytheon is delivering Block IA rounds for operational use on Navy cruisers and destroyers.

The SM-3 Block IA provides increased capability to engage short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 Block IA incorporates rocket motor upgrades and computer program modifications to improve sensor performance, missile guidance and control, and lower cost. It also includes producibility and maintainability features required to qualify the missile as a tactical fleet asset.

"SM-3 represents a truly global missile defense capability," said Jim Maslowski, Raytheon Missile Systems international programs vice president and former director, U.S. Navy International Program Office. "SM-3 can leverage the deployed base of Standard Missile, which is in operation with 13 nations worldwide. SM-3 really fits into the Chief of Naval Operations' 1,000-ship navy concept."

earlier related report
Lockheed Martin Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System Simultaneously Engages Two Threats During Multi-Mission Test Kauai HI (SPX) Apr 29 - During a test today, Lockheed Martin's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System proved its multi-mission capability by simultaneously engaging two targets - a ballistic missile and an anti-ship cruise missile - in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

The test represents the Aegis system's eighth successful ballistic missile intercept in 10 attempts, and the first intercept while simultaneously engaging an air threat. In addition to its record of intercepts, Aegis BMD has successfully supported more than 15 ballistic missile defense system tracking tests since June 2004.

In today's test, USS Lake Erie (CG 70), a guided missile cruiser equipped with the latest U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency (MDA)-certified version of the Aegis BMD Weapon System (Aegis BMD 3.6 Weapons System), successfully detected, tracked, targeted, and guided two Standard Missiles (SM) to the targets. Aegis guided an SM-3 Block IA missile to its successful intercept of a short-range, non-separating ballistic missile target outside the Earth's atmosphere. Aegis also guided an SM-2 Block IIIA missile successfully to a low-altitude intercept of a cruise missile target, as planned.

"Today's test demonstrates the true flexibility and depth of capability inherent in the Aegis BMD Weapon System," said Rear Adm. Brad Hicks, the Missile Defense Agency's Aegis BMD program director. "The simultaneous engagement highlights the flexibility and power of the SPY-1 radar and the weapon system's capability to manage and prioritize the engagement of the two threats."

"Our rigorous system engineering approach, founded on the fundamental principal of 'build-a-little, test-a-little', continues to succeed in delivering to the Navy and Missile Defense Agency incremental upgrades in multi-mission warfighting capability," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. "The Aegis system's success in simultaneously intercepting two targets in different threat regimes is a testament to the dedication of the MDA/Navy/industry Aegis BMD team and our unwavering commitment to system engineering excellence."

The Aegis BMD 3.6 Weapon System, including the SM-3 Block IA missile, was certified for tactical deployment by the U.S. Navy and MDA in September 2006. Aegis BMD 3.6 enhances the ballistic missile defense capabilities of the current Aegis BMD fleet and adds capability in other warfare areas - as demonstrated in today's test. An earlier version of Aegis BMD was declared operational in October 2004.

earlier related report
Boeing Supports Successful Intercept Test of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
St. Louis MO (SPX) Apr 29 - Boeing played a key role in today's eighth successful intercept of a ballistic missile target by the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System.

The test, Flight Test Maritime-11 Event 4 (FTM-11), further validated efforts by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy to provide a sea-based defense against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. FTM-11 Event 4 was the second test of the Block IA version of the SM-3 and the first test of the Block IA with a full-capability solid divert and attitude control system (SDACS). The SDACS maneuvers the kinetic warhead (KW) to the target using multiple pulses of gas generated by the SDACS propellant. Boeing builds several components of the KW, including the guidance electronics, which it integrates with the Raytheon infrared seeker.

"This test successfully demonstrated the modified SM-3 Kinetic Warhead's performance for the first time in an exo-atmospheric intercept. The test showed that modifications made over the last two years have been effective and the SM-3 and its Kinetic Warhead provide the system performance needed by the warfighter to defeat ballistic missile attacks," said Debra Rub-Zenko, vice president of Boeing Integrated Missile Defense. "Boeing is proud to be a member of the industry team committed to providing this extraordinarily effective operational capability to MDA and the Navy."

The SM-3 Block IA, fired from the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie, destroyed the short-range ballistic missile target launched from the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. Once the Aegis BMD system guided the SM-3 to the right point in space, the SM-3 kinetic warhead successfully acquired the target and computed an accurate guidance and control intercept trajectory for the hit-to-kill intercept.

Boeing has partnered with Raytheon on SM-3 development since 1996 and is under subcontract to integrate and test the KW avionics, guidance and control hardware and software, as well as the ejection subsystem. In addition to SM-3 round integration, Raytheon provides the KW infrared seeker, the signal and image processor and the integrated KW software.

In addition to its work on the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program, Boeing holds key roles in several other elements of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System architecture. Boeing is prime contractor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and the Airborne Laser. It also develops and produces the seeker for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile.

Boeing Supports Successful Intercept Test of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ST. LOUIS, April 26, 2007 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] played a key role in today's eighth successful intercept of a ballistic missile target by the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System.

The test, Flight Test Maritime-11 Event 4 (FTM-11), further validated efforts by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy to provide a sea-based defense against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. FTM-11 Event 4 was the second test of the Block IA version of the SM-3 and the first test of the Block IA with a full-capability solid divert and attitude control system (SDACS). The SDACS maneuvers the kinetic warhead (KW) to the target using multiple pulses of gas generated by the SDACS propellant. Boeing builds several components of the KW, including the guidance electronics, which it integrates with the Raytheon infrared seeker.

"This test successfully demonstrated the modified SM-3 Kinetic Warhead's performance for the first time in an exo-atmospheric intercept. The test showed that modifications made over the last two years have been effective and the SM-3 and its Kinetic Warhead provide the system performance needed by the warfighter to defeat ballistic missile attacks," said Debra Rub-Zenko, vice president of Boeing Integrated Missile Defense. "Boeing is proud to be a member of the industry team committed to providing this extraordinarily effective operational capability to MDA and the Navy."

The SM-3 Block IA, fired from the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie, destroyed the short-range ballistic missile target launched from the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. Once the Aegis BMD system guided the SM-3 to the right point in space, the SM-3 kinetic warhead successfully acquired the target and computed an accurate guidance and control intercept trajectory for the hit-to-kill intercept.

Boeing has partnered with Raytheon on SM-3 development since 1996 and is under subcontract to integrate and test the KW avionics, guidance and control hardware and software, as well as the ejection subsystem. In addition to SM-3 round integration, Raytheon provides the KW infrared seeker, the signal and image processor and the integrated KW software.

In addition to its work on the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program, Boeing holds key roles in several other elements of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System architecture. Boeing is prime contractor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and the Airborne Laser. It also develops and produces the seeker for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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NATO Wants Clarification About Russian Treaty Freeze
Oslo (AFP) April 27, 2007
NATO called Friday for Russia to clarify whether it has actually frozen its application of a key arms treaty limiting the number of military forces in Europe. "The first step will still have to be to clarify exactly what President (Vladimir) Putin meant," chief NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters, when asked how the alliance would respond to the apparent move.







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