The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, successfully conducted FTI-03 on Dec. 10, 2018. The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor used the AN/TPY-2 radar’s “engage-on-remote” technology to destroy an intermediate-range ballistic missile target in a first-of-its-kind test from land. The interceptor was fired from an Aegis Ashore combat system site in Hawaii. It was the first successful intercept by the IIA, a next-generation variant, that was launched from land and it was an “engage-on-remote” test, meaning the missile used data from a separate AN/TPY-2 radar rather than the phased-array connected to the Aegis Ashore system. SM-3 destroys its targets with sheer impact.
Developed by Raytheon and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, it’s the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched from sea or land, and it has achieved more than 30 intercepts in space. Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 radar served as a remote sensor in the test, tracking the missile and sending it data on the incoming target. The SM-3 IIA’s larger rocket motors and bigger kinetic warhead will engage short-to-intermediate-range ballistic missile threats sooner. In an October test, the interceptor destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea. The target missile was launched from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
The SM-3 Block IIA is a development of the Standard surface-to-air missile series. It is used with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system to intercept medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The next-generation SM-3 will be carried by U.S. Navy and Japanese ships and will be based at the Aegis Ashore land site in Poland, once it becomes operational. The Poland site, along with an already active Aegis Ashore site in Romania, will provide missile defense protection for Europe, according to the Missile Defense Agency. Currently deployed versions capable of intercepting ballistic missile of the SM-3 include the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors mounted either on Aegis anti-ballistic missile ships like the Arleigh Burke and Ticonderoga classes or in land launchers linked to the Missile Defense Agency radar and early warning network.