Aviation Week & Space Technology
November 5, 2007
On the heels of a successful intercept demonstration from its mobile land-based missile defense system, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is shifting its focus for a test this week of the sea-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system with its most complex
target set to date. The Aegis radar and interceptor system on board USS Lake Erie will be the primary system for the trial.
It will be pitted against two short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) targets launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility near the island of Kauai, Hawaii, nearly simultaneously. The ship … will be required to detect, track and target the hostile surrogates. It must also fire two of its own SM-3 Block 1A interceptors for the engagement portion of the flight trial. Adding a new element for this test, though, is participation from Japan’s JS Kongo Aegis-equipped ship, which will conduct its own detection, tracking and engagement of the SRBMs in real time through a simulation exercise. …its simulated participation is a step toward a live-fire demonstration from
Japan’s Aegis system, which is scheduled to take place in December.
Meanwhile, MDA officials continue to analyze data from an Oct. 27 flight test of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system.
These recent test successes allow MDA to move forward with more complex targets for future scenarios. MDA plans to add countermeasures to a Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) test early next year. And the target’s complexity is planned to expand for the next Thaad trial.