US Tests Its Powerful Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System; Target Intercepted

The US military has carried out a test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, successfully intercepting at least one target, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.

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“The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, conducted Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 33 in the broad ocean area northwest of Hawaii, July 24,” the MDA informed on Saturday.

The objective was to intercept two short-range ballistic missile targets using four Standard Missile-6 Dual II missiles.

“Based on initial observations, one target was successfully intercepted. At this time, we cannot confirm the second target was destroyed,” the MDA said.

These were the most complex exercises of this kind to date, according to the MDA, using two test targets and a ship (the USS Ralph Johnson) equipped with the Aegis missile defense system. It was the third flight test of an Aegis-equipped vessel using the SM-6 Dual II missile.

Aegis Ashore | Lockheed Martin
Aegis Ashore | Lockheed Martin

Earlier, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) had stated that the temporary installation and integration of the US Aegis Ashore system with missile defense batteries in Poland has allowed a series of tests prior to the system’s permanent deployment,

“The Aegis Weapon System… was unpacked and temporarily set up in a site-activation facility to create the Poland Aegis Ashore Removable Equipment Unit Integration Site for testing prior to permanent installation,” the MDA said in a press release.

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The integration site allowed testing of several simulated scenarios demonstrating successful Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), engaging on remote and launching on remote multiple threats, the release said.

In addition, the installation allowed engineers to update the Aegis weapon system hardware and software and correct equipment issues which could have caused delays to the ultimate start of operations if discovered during permanent installation, the release added.