Archive for the ‘ballistic missile defense’ Category

Ballistic Missile Defense: Doing What Was Once Thought Impossible From Warships of U.S., Japan

November 3, 2008

Warships from the U.S. and Japan demonstrated anti-ballistic missile capability during the last week in tests that were breathtaking but not perfect.

Saddam Hussein sent a shock wave through the U.S. military and also into the hearts of U.S. allies in 1991 when he used SCUD ballistic missiles during Operation Desert Storm.

At the same time the U.S. Navy sent a shock wave through the U.S. defense establishment with the news that Navy AEGIS cruisers had tracked those Iraqi SCUDS and U.S.  warship computer systems at sea calculated everything needed to achieve precision intercepts of those hostile ballistic missiles.

Now the Navy of the United States and that of the forces of Japan are deployed with ballistic missile defense capability that is being refined, varified and tested continuously.

This last weekend, USS Paul Hamilton shot down a ballistic missile target in the mid-Pacific.  This was another success in a long and highly complex ballistic missile defense development in the U.S. Navy — and in the Navy of Japan.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton

The following is from the Honolulu Advertiser:

By Diana Leone
A Japanese Navy ship, the JDS Chokai, has successfully tracked a ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

DDG-176 Choukai.jpg
Above: Chokai, of Japan’s Navy.

The tracking practice on Thursday was preparation for a mid-November test of the Chokai’s ability to shoot down a separating missile target, said Chris Taylor, agency spokesman.

The ship used on-board radar and data from other ships and shore command to calculate a “fire control solution” and simulate an intercept of the target by a Standard Missile-3, Taylor said.

The Chokai is the second Japanese ship to deploy the Aegis weapons system developed by the U.S. and used on U.S. Navy vessels as part of the country’s overall missile defense.

Japan’s ship, the Kongo, shot down a nonseparating target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility last December. The separating target is more complex, requiring the defensive missile to distinguish between the booster rocket and the warhead missile.

DDG173 JDS Kongo.jpg
Above: Kongo

U.S. ships have successfully shot down separating targets a number of times. The mid-November attempt by the Chokai will be the first for the Japanese.

The November test will draw a “surge” of about 500 Japanese and U.S. military and contractors to Kaua’i, said Tom Clements, missile facility spokesman.
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton.
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai, Hawaii Saturday Nov. 1, 2008. The SM-3 successfully collided with a ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Test Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy.

Ballistic Missile Defense: U.S. Navy Again Demonstrates Proven Success!

Ballistic Missile Defense: American Technology in Israel for Defense

November 2, 2008


By James Hackett
The Washington Times

The effort to defend against Iran’s  missiles took a new turn in late September when Washington delivered an X-band radar manned by 120 U.S. personnel to the first permanent U.S. military base in Israel. 

Iran’s missiles are a real and growing threat to U.S. forces and allies in the Middle East. Add the nuclear weapons Tehran is determined to acquire and Iran’s longer-range missiles will be a threat to Europe and even the United States. The choice next Tuesday is between a candidate who supports missile defense and one who does not.

The radar sent to Israel is the same as the high-powered transportable model now operating in northern Japan. It is ideal for detecting short- and medium-range missiles such as Iran’s Scuds that can reach U.S. bases in Iraq and its Shahab-3 that threatens Israel. The advantage over Israel’s Green Pine radar is that the X-band radar can track missiles from launch, providing extra minutes to intercept. A Shahab-3 flies about 9 minutes from Iran to Israel, so a gain of several minutes is invaluable.

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE The Forward-Based X-band Transportable (FBX-T) radar system has been delivered by the United States to Israel to strengthen Israeli defenses against possible missile attacks from Iran.

aBOVE: The Forward-Based X-band Transportable (FBX-T) radar system has been delivered by the United States to Israel to strengthen Israeli defenses against possible missile attacks from Iran. DoD photo

This can permit an intercept soon after launch over enemy instead of friendly territory. But more important, the X-band radar integrates Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.

The X-band radar is at an Israeli Air Force base at Nevatim in the Negev Desert, where it is linked to the U.S. Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) in Europe. JTAGS streams real time data to the radar, helping it spot and track missiles and coordinate both defensive and offensive actions. Missile tracking data is shared instantly with Israel’s Arrow interceptors, U.S. Patriots and Aegis ships.

This consolidated defense against Iran’s missile threat will be further strengthened when more Aegis ships, with their own SPY-1 radars, are equipped with SM-3 missile interceptors.

Another enhancement will come with Arrow-3, a new longer-range interceptor now being developed in Israel, the cost of which the United States is expected to share. Arrow-3 will be able to intercept outside the atmosphere, well before a missile can reach Israeli territory.

Still another new missile destined for the Middle East is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which is now undergoing testing by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It is expected to be operational, with its own transportable X-band radars, between 2010 and 2012. The United Arab Emirates already is talking with the Pentagon about buying three THAAD firing units with 147 interceptors to defend the Gulf states. Iran’s missile menace is more than just a U.S. concern.

And the menace is real. The Shahab-3 was first tested in 1998 and became operational in 2003. Its range has been increased to cover all of Israel. It can deliver a high explosive warhead, chemical weapons or a nuclear weapon, when Iran gets one. Iran continues to develop both nuclear weapons and improved missiles to deliver them, even as its erratic president promises to wipe Israel off the map.

In August, Iran tried to launch a satellite into low Earth orbit, but the test failed when the rocket broke apart and fell into the sea. Despite the failure, Iran is continuing to develop multiple-stage missiles that can reach Europe and North America. They will learn from the failure. It is only a matter of time before they succeed.

We do not have the luxury of waiting for Iran to get such weapons before fielding defenses, which take years to get in place. Deploying an X-band radar and other defenses in Israel and around the Middle East is prudent. And installing an X-band radar in the Czech Republic and ground-based interceptors in Poland is equally important, to protect NATO bases and cities in Europe and the United States.

Sen. John McCain has said he supports a strong missile defense, including the planned bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Sen. Barack Obama has made it crystal clear he will cut missile defense spending. When asked what he will cut in the whole federal budget, he mentions missile defense. The choice is clear.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Ballistic Missile Defense: U.S. Navy Again Demonstrates Proven Success!

November 2, 2008

HONOLULU (AP) – U.S. Navy officials say one of two short-range ballistic missiles shot from a military facility in Hawaii in a defense system test was hit by an interceptor missile fired from a Navy ship.

Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear says Saturday’s trial marked the first time that the Navy _ rather than the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency _ oversaw the firing of a so-called Standard Missile-3 interceptor against a ballistic missile target.

In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
Above: An SM-3 launches from a U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Defense ship.

The San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet had command and control of the mission, in which two target missiles were fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

An SM-3 fired from the USS Paul Hamilton directly hit the first target missile. Another ship, the USS Hopper, failed to intercept the second target missile that was fired.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton arrives in Pearl Harbor.  Note the lei at the bow….

Shot at satellite unlikely Wednesday: official

February 20, 2008
By Andrew Gray

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military does not anticipate trying to shoot apart a defunct spy satellite on Wednesday due to rough seas in the Pacific Ocean, a senior military official said.
The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel overnight on Wednesday in an area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, according to U.S. officials and government documents. REUTERS/Graphics 

The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel overnight on Wednesday in an area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, according to U.S. officials and government documents.

The official said that assessment could change but forecasts indicated the Pacific would not be calm enough for the operation. Under the Pentagon‘s plans, a Navy ship will fire a missile at the bus-sized satellite.

See the entire article and graphic:

Weather may delay satellite shot

February 20, 2008
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON – High seas in the north Pacific may force the Navy to wait another day before launching a heat-seeking missile on a mission to shoot down a wayward U.S. spy satellite, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Weather conditions are one of many factors that U.S. military officers are taking into account as they decide whether to proceed with the mission Wednesday or to put it off, according to a senior military officer who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on condition that he not be identified.

The officer said the assumption had been that the mission would go forward Wednesday night, unless conditions are determined to be unfavorable. Earlier in the day, bad weather in the north Pacific was causing rough seas, which may be a problem for the USS Lake Erie, a cruiser armed with two SM-3 missiles.

Read the rest:;_

AP Military Writer: Navy Satellite Shot is Controversial

February 20, 2008

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON – A Navy heat-seeking missile is getting its first real-world use in an attempt to demolish a crippled U.S. spy satellite before the orbiting craft falls back to Earth.

The targeting of the satellite — which could come Wednesday night — is not the mission for which this piece of the Pentagon‘s missile defense network was intended, however.

The attempted shootdown, already approved by President Bush out of concern about toxic fuel on board the satellite, is seen by some as blurring the lines between defending against a weapon like a long-range missile and targeting satellites in orbit.

Read the rest:;_

Navy: Satellite in the Crosshairs

February 20, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 20, 2008

Three U.S. Navy ships have positioned themselves for an unprecedented mission: the execution of a dangerous satellite
about 150 miles above the earth.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will decide when the U.S. Navy will shoot for the first time at the rogue and out of control satellite about to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.

The satellite, USA 193, failed soon after launch in 2006.  The satellite contains about 1,000 pounds of dangerous hydrazine fuel.  Hydrazine is toxic to man and animals.

The Navy will use a modified SM-3 missile, a product of the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapons system, to shoot down the malfunctioning satellite.  Aegis BMD has been in development since the early 1990s.

Three ships are prepared for the mission: USS Lake Erie, USS Decatur, and USS Russell.  All have the Aegis BMD system, the SM-3 missile, and significant crew training and experience.

“We all have an agreed-upon series of steps that need to be taken for this launch to be given the go-ahead,” DoD spokesman Morrell said, adding that no final decision has been made on when to make the attempt.

“The [Defense] Secretary is the one who will decide if and when to pull the trigger,” the Mr. Morrell told us. 

The launch could take place as early as 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.

After Mr. Gates gives the go ahead, this mission rests in the hands of the men and women — the sailors — of the United States Navy.  Engineers and technologists completed their work long ago.  Now sailors will do their professional best — as they always do.

The best report on this mission we saw last night and this morning came from the Army Times and appears below:

By Zachary M. Peterson – Staff writer
Army Times
February 19, 2008  

Sailors aboard the cruiser Lake Erie could attempt the Navy’s first-of-its-kind missile shot to destroy a broken spy satellite as soon as Wednesday evening, officials said Tuesday.

The Navy will use a modified SM-3 missile, leveraging the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapons system to shoot down the malfunctioning satellite, which Defense Department officials fear could potentially shower hazardous debris on Earth.
This photo released by the US Navy in 2003 shows a Standard ... 
This photo released by the US Navy in 2003 shows a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launching from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
(AFP/Us Navy-HO/File) 

The launch could take place as early as 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The missile does not contain a warhead — it destroys its target using the force of the impact.

The SM-3 is the same missile the Navy uses in its ballistic missile defense tests, but the three missiles modified for the satellite shoot-down have software alterations designed to hit the specific target, a Navy official told reporters Tuesday afternoon in a briefing at the Pentagon.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)

The official requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the missile shot.

The National Geospatial Agency has issued an aircraft advisory warning aviators of hazardous operations in a large area of the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii from 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday evening to 12:00 a.m. Thursday setting off speculation that this will be the window the Navy uses to shoot down the satellite.

Ted Molczan, a satellite watcher who has been watching the failed spy satellite closely since its launch in 2006, has calculated it will pass directly over the area specified in the notifications for about three minutes around 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday.

The cruiser Lake Erie will take the first shot, the official said. The ship is carrying one additional modified SM-3 as well. The destroyer Decatur will provide long-range surveillance and tracking and also has one modified SM-3 aboard, the Navy source said. A third ship, the destroyer Russell, will “likely” remain pierside in Hawaii to provide backup for the Decatur, another Navy source said.

The Military Sealift Command missile range instrumentation ship Observation Island will also collect data and monitor the shoot, officials added.

Ultimately, the Navy is equipped to take three shots at the satellite, but there will be some period of time in between them, according to the Pentagon.

Officials would not specify how long they would wait to try again if the first shot misses, nor would they reveal how often the broken satellite completes an orbit over the Earth.

A typical Aegis BMD test, in which a warship destroys a test ballistic rocket fired from a range in Hawaii, lasts between 20 and 80 seconds.

The Pentagon first became aware of the potentially dangerous re-entry of the satellite early this year, according to press reports. The satellite, known as USA 193, experienced problems upon launch in 2006 and is roughly the size of school bus, DoD officials confirmed.

It took the Navy about six weeks to make the necessary modifications to the missiles and radars to “take it to sea with some degree of confidence,” the Navy official said at Tuesday’s briefing.

The Navy had no prior capability to shoot down satellites and had previously “not explored that,” the source added.

The challenge for the Navy in hitting the satellite is the nature of the target, the official said. The satellite is “bigger and faster than a missile” and the target must be hit in the fuel tank, which remains full, the official said.

The Defense Department will send out a statement within an hour of the missile’s launch, but it could take a day or longer to determine if the fuel tank was hit, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.

The satellite does not have its own heat signature, so operators must rely on the sun to warm the target.

The official described the orbiting satellite as a “cold body in space.”

Since January 2002, the Navy has a solid rate of success in its Aegis ballistic missile defense test program, hitting 12 of 14 targets so far.

The tests have increased in complexity, most recently boasting a success hit of a separating target last December.

The cost of the shoot down is unclear, but an Aegis ballistic missile defense tests costs around $40 million, the source said. One SM-3 missile costs about $10 million.

In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) ...

 In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) to intercept a threat representative target as part of a Missile Defense Agency test of the sea-based capability under development on Nov. 6, 2007. Taking a page from Hollywood science fiction, the Pentagon said Thursday Feb. 14, 2008 it will try to shoot down a dying, bus-size U.S. spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel on a collision course with the Earth using a SM-3 missile. The military hopes to smash the satellite as soon as next week — just before it enters Earth’s atmosphere — with a single missile fired from a Navy cruiser in the northern Pacific Ocean. Software associated with the SM-3 has been modified to enhance the chances of the missile’s sensors recognizing that the satellite is its target.
(AP Photo/US Navy)Related:
Effort to Shoot Down Satellite Could Inform Military Strategy
U.S. Navy Setting Up To Kill Dangerous SatelliteChina: No to U.S. Missile Shot at Satellite
Russia Says U.S. Satellite May Be “Space Weapon” Test

AP Military Writer: Navy Satellite Shot is Controversial
U.S. Navy Missile Destroys Dangerous Satellite

Navy Could Shoot Satellite as Early as Wednesday, Today

February 20, 2008
Larger article moved to:
Navy: Satellite in the Crosshairs
In this Nov 17, 2005 picture provided by the U.S. Navy, a Standard ... 
In this Nov 17, 2005 picture provided by the U.S. Navy, a Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the vertical launch system aboard the Pearl Harbor-based Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie, during a joint Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Navy test in the Pacific Ocean. The government issued notices to aviators and mariners to remain clear of a section of the Pacific beginning at 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008 indicating the first window of opportunity to launch an SM-3 missile from the USS Lake Erie, in an effort to hit a crippled U.S. spy satellite.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy) 

Sayonara and Aloha: Japan and U.S. Ending Successful Missile Defense Test; Vow to “Press Ahead”

December 19, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
December 19, 2007

Scientists, engineers, missile defense experts and naval warfare professionals are meeting now to evaluate the initial data extractions of a landmark event: Japan’s Navy ship JS KONGO detected, tracked, developed a fire control solution, launched an SM-3 midcourse ballistic missile (BM) interceptor and killed the intended BM target on Monday.
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, ... 
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Japanese Aegis Destroyer JS Kongo in the warter off Kauai, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The Japanese military became the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in space, about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean, fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, run by the U.S. Navy, with the interceptor fired from the ship at sea in a test Monday.(AP Photo/Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, HO)

Never before has an ally of the United States employed this lethal and long-range ballistic missile defense system: the modified AEGIS weapon system including the SPY radar and the SM-3 missile.

All previous tests employing this system were conducted solely by the U.S. Navy.

In fact, this event again proved the viability of effective ballistic missile defense; a science once thought impossible.

The KONGO guided intercept that destroyed the ballistic missile occurred more than 100 miles above the surface of the sea.

The event was carried out at America’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) near Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. Many in the international community including Admirals from Japan, South Korea and as far away as Germany call PMRF the finest missile land, sea and air test facility in the world.

The lead U.S. agency for event coordination of Japan Flight Test Mission 1 (JFTM-1) was the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) headed by Lt. General Henry “Trey” Obering III.

Lockheed Martin is the lead engineering agent for the AEGIS system.  Raytheon engineerers the SM-3.  A Raytheon press release said, “The SM-3 Block IA provides increased capability to engage short-to-intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The missile incorporates rocket motor upgrades and computer program modifications to improve sensor performance, missile guidance and control, as well as lower cost. SM-3 Block IA includes production and mission support features required to qualify the missile as a tactical fleet asset.”

“We are proud of SM-3’s impressive record of successful intercepts,” said Fred Wyatt, Raytheon’s vice president for Naval Warfare Systems in a previous statement.

“The program has truly transitioned to a manufacturing mindset. We have delivered more than 23 operational SM-3 rounds to our customers. We are ramping up our facilities and suppliers to accelerate deliveries of this urgently needed capability to the fleet,” said Wyatt.

Rear Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force said the missile defense test event was “Breathtaking and a wonderful success.” He praised the professionalism and competence of KONGO’s Captain and crew.
DDG Kongo
KONGO at sea

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency called the test “a major milestone” in U.S.-Japanese relations.

A senior U.S. Naval Officer told Peace and Freedom, “This is a beginning and not an ending.  Someday, in the not to distant future, U.S. Navy and Japan Navy cruisers and guided missile destroyers will work together to deter actors with ballistic missiles like North Korea. Moreover, the two naval forces will work in an integrated architecture to defend the people of Japan and increase security and confidence of the American people and all U.S. allies. This is an ‘Aloha’ moment, not a good bye. You can expect both nations to press ahead.”
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, ... 
The SM-3 Interceptor Missile blasts from JS KONGO’s Vertical Launch System on December 17, 2007.  The missile flew downrange and killed a ballistic missile target more than 100 miles above the sea.

Japan Navy Kills Ballistic Missile Target

December 17, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 0045 GMT

Japan’s Navy ship KONGO destroyed a ballistic missile target in flight Monday afternoon  December 17, 2007 off the coast of Kauai in the Hawaiian Island chain.  The ship used an SM-3 Missile to destroy the BMD target at the U.S. Pacific Missile Range Facility.

This was the first test ever of the SM-3 by an allied navy.  All previous test flights of the SM-3 were conducted by the U.S. Navy.  The test highlights the close cooperation between the U.S. and Japan.

The Raytheon Corportion produces the SM-3.

Japan has demonstrated an acute interest in Ballistic Missile Defense in general and the SM-3 in particular since North Korea launched a ballistic missile which overflew Japan in 1998.  That same year, China fired missiles in the vicinity of Taiwan.

Details as they become available.
DDG Kongo
KONGO at sea.

From the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (Provided pending Government and Corporate Press Releases)

Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Dec. 17, 2007:  Riki Ellison, President of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), reported today that at (12:15 p.m. Hawaii time), the Japanese Aegis Destroyer, the JS KONGO (DDG-173), shot down a scud-like target missile similar in speed and size to those deployed by the North Korean military off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

This historic first missile intercept by Japan demonstrates to the Japanese public that Japan has proven its capability to defend and protect their country from North Korean missiles. The international ramifications of having Japan invest, develop and deploy their own missile defense system that can protect their nation independently of the United States are tremendous.  This intercept sends a resounding, persuasive and compelling message to other countries that seek their own self-defense from the threat of ballistic missiles to follow Japan’s lead.  Moreover, this demonstration further dissuades and deters those countries and entities that choose to invest in ballistic missiles.

At (12:05 p.m. Hawaii time) on a tropical day with a slight breeze and scattered clouds in the northern area of Kauai at the Pacific Range Missile Facility (PRMF), a target missile was launched.  Within a minute or so after the launch of the target in white cap seas off the coast of Hawaii, the crew of the JS KONGO, using Aegis sensors, located and tracked the target missile and downloaded that information to the Standard Missile (SM-3 Block 1A) located in the vertical launch tubes on the JS KONGO.  Moments later at (12:08 p.m. Hawaii time), the defensive SM-3 Block 1A missile was fired from the ship and continued to receive updated information while in flight. At (12:15 p.m. Hawaii time), high above the Pacific Ocean in space, the Japanese SM-3 missile intercepted the target missile launched from Kauai using an internal heat seeking sensor and from the sheer velocity speeds of thousands of miles per hour, both the target missile and the defensive missile were completely destroyed.

This test marks the first time the United States Naval facility (the PRMF) was used and paid for by a foreign government for a ballistic missile test.  Approximately $57 million was paid by the Japanese government for the test.  The United States was able to watch and independently use its missile defense sensors from multiple platforms on this Japanese owned test, which are part of the current U.S. missile defense system.  Three of the U.S. sensors that were used included the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG -70), and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) stationed at the PRMF. 

This successful missile test marks the 10th intercept for the Aegis Missile Defense System since December 2002, when the United States made the decision to deploy missile defenses and the 27th overall ballistic missile intercept since that date.

This historic intercept marks the 10-year culmination, investments and resolve of the Japanese government and its public to build their own missile defense system.  In 1998, North Korea launched a ballistic missile unannounced over the country of Japan.  Since then, North Korea has built its force to approximately 200 ballistic missiles, and most of them are scud-type missiles.  On Dec. 17, 2007, Japan proved with its own ship, crew and interceptor that it can locate, track, discriminate and destroy a ballistic missile similar to a current North Korean scud missile.

The JS KONGO will soon return to Pearl Harbor and disembark with a load of SM-3 Block 1A missiles to return to Japanese waters. With the U.S. Aegis Missile Defense Destroyers and Cruisers in the Sea of Japan, this international missile defense fleet coupled with other U.S. defense assets in the region will be a formidable deterrence force that will further ensure stability, protection and peace in this part of the world.