US Navy, Missile Defense Agency shoot down an intermediate-range ballistic missile in space
“The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency continued a hot streak Tuesday when they successfully shot down an intermediate-range ballistic missile target in space from its Hawaii-based Aegis Ashore facility. The test marked the second consecutive successful intercept for the SM-3 Block IIA missile in development. The intercept followed an October success, which shook off two hard-luck consecutive failures ― one caused by a sailor error and a second caused by a misfired third-stage rocket motor. Both tests were on course for a successful intercept when the respective mishaps occurred, officials told Defense News.
The SM-3 Block IIA is a co-development between the U.S. and Japan, and it is expected to be equipped on both the U.S. Aegis Ashore stations in Romania and Poland and the future Aegis Ashore stations in Japan — making it a keystone to America’s short- and intermediate-range missile defense strategies. The European Aegis Ashore sites have been the source of significant tension between Russia and the U.S., with Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly criticizing the platform and accusing the U.S. of attempting to upset the strategic balance. In a release, the MDA said the missile was fired by a U.S. Air Force C-17 ‘thousands of miles southwest of the Aegis Ashore test site that launched the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.’”