INTERCEPTOR TEST A HIT
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.