IN­TER­CEP­TOR TEST A HIT

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitic­s -

The Navy and the Pen­tagon’s Mis­sile De­fense Agency con­ducted a suc­cess­ful flight test of a new SM-3 Block IIA anti-mis­sile in­ter­cep­tor, hit­ting a sim­u­lated in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile over the Pa­cific near Hawaii.

The SM-3 mis­sile also was fired from a new ground­based launcher sys­tem called Aegis Ashore, an ef­fort to place Aegis bat­tle man­age­ment sys­tem-equipped mis­sile de­fenses on land to re­duce costs as­so­ci­ated with at-sea de­ploy­ment.

In Tues­day’s test, an in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile tar­get was launched from a C-17 cargo plane “thou­sands of miles south­west” of the Aegis Ashore launch site at Kauai, Hawaii, the Mis­sile De­fense Agency said in a state­ment. Ac­cord­ing to the agency, the test in­volved the use of ground-, air- and space-based sen­sors and com­mand and con­trol sys­tems.

Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, direc­tor of the Mis­sile De­fense Agency, said the suc­cess­ful flight test was “of great sig­nif­i­cance” in ad­vanc­ing mul­tido­main mis­sile de­fense op­er­a­tions. The test also sup­ported a crit­i­cal ini­tial pro­duc­tion ac­qui­si­tion mile­stone for the new Block IIA mis­sile.

The Block IIA mis­sile uses a more pow­er­ful mo­tor that gives the in­ter­cep­tor greater ca­pa­bil­i­ties to shoot down en­emy mis­siles. The Aegis Ashore will be de­ployed in Poland and Ro­ma­nia. Ja­pan also plans to de­ploy Aegis Ashore.

“This sys­tem is de­signed to de­fend the United States, its de­ployed forces, al­lies and friends from a real and grow­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat,” Gen. Greaves said.

The Rus­sian gov­ern­ment re­cently crit­i­cized the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary’s use of in­ter­me­di­ate-range tar­get mis­siles, claim­ing the mis­siles vi­o­late the 1987 In­ter­me­di­ate-range Nu­clear Forces treaty ban­ning ground-launched mis­siles with ranges of 310 miles to 3,420 miles. In­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles have ranges of 1,864 to 3,418 miles.

The treaty, how­ever, states that “non-weapon-de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles” are not cov­ered by INF.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced re­cently that it will with­draw from the INF treaty un­less Rus­sia re­turns to com­pli­ance in 60 days. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has charged that Rus­sia’s de­ploy­ment of a new ground­launched cruise mis­sile, the SSC-8, is a ma­te­rial breach of the agree­ment.

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