US military tests ballistic missile, plane interceptor
The U.S. military said Monday it successfully tested an interceptor that can shoot down ballistic missiles as well as airplanes.
The USS John Paul Jones tested the technology during a series of flight tests off Hawaii over the past week, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.
The tests used a modified version of the SM-6 missile the Navy already uses, said Heather Uberuaga, a spokeswoman for military contractor Raytheon Missile Systems.
The existing version can shoot down airplanes, helicopters and cruise missiles. The newer model tested off Hawaii may also destroy ballistic missiles in their last few seconds of flight.
Raytheon says the updated missile is on course to be operational next year, offering the Navy the flexibility to meet a wide variety of missions.
It would join the Navy’s arsenal of missile-destroying interceptors. The Navy already has an interceptor, called SM-3, that ships can use to shoot down ballistic missiles midway through their flight.