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.
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.