The U.S. Navy destroyed a mock intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean early Tuesday morning in a profitable take a look at of America’s experimental missile protection system, in line with press releases from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and protection contractor Raytheon. The brand new take a look at was notable for destroying a goal missile whereas it was exterior Earth’s environment, an extremely troublesome activity that a number of nations have been engaged on for many years.
The inert goal ICBM was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Protection Take a look at Website on the Kwajalein Atoll, a part of the Marshall Islands, round 7:50 p.m. Hawaii time on Monday, or shortly after midnight on the East Coast of the U.S. The ICBM was launched towards the ocean northeast of Hawaii, simulating a nuclear missile assault from Asia.
Whereas the brand new U.S. anti-missile take a look at will doubtless be perceived as a deterrent in opposition to nuclear-armed nations like North Korea and China, the take a look at was performed shortly after a brand new report from the New York Times revealed President Donald Trump has been exploring totally different navy choices in opposition to Iran following his electoral defeat final week. Trump has nonetheless not conceded the presidential election, although president-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take workplace on January 20.
Tuesday’s take a look at, dubbed Flight Take a look at Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44), concerned a launch of Raytheon’s newest anti-missile weapon, referred to as the SM-Three Block IIA, from a Navy destroyer within the Pacific, which efficiently hit the goal ICBM. The SM-Three anti-missile gadgets don’t include an explosive and as a substitute include a “hit-to-kill” warhead designed to destroy the goal by merely colliding with it.
The FTM-44 train was initially scheduled for Could however needed to be delayed over staffing issues across the covid-19 pandemic, in line with the U.S. Missile Protection Company. The Navy was mandated by Congress to check the SM-Three Block IIA earlier than the tip of the yr.
Earlier variations of the SM-3, together with the Block IA and 1B, had been smaller and had much less gas, which hindered its capacity to succeed in targets exterior Earth’s environment. The brand new Block IIA was developed collectively with the Japanese authorities.
U.S. Missile Protection Company launched animated video right this moment, dated October 30, of how the anti-missile system works. Precise pictures and movies of the take a look at had not been launched as of early Tuesday morning.
The U.S. navy has performed a number of exo-atmospheric (exterior the environment) exams with the SM-3, in line with Raytheon, however that is the primary acknowledged to achieve success at destroying a goal in house.
How a lot does all of this price? The newest request from the Missile Protection Company for this specific missile protection system was $1.eight billion for next year alone, in line with a November 11 report from the nonpartisan Congressional Analysis Service.
“This was an unbelievable accomplishment and important milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-Three Block IIA program,” Missile Protection Company director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill, stated in a press release.
“The Division is investigating the potential for augmenting the Floor-based Midcourse Protection system by fielding further sensors and weapon programs to hedge in opposition to surprising developments within the missile menace,” Hill continued.
“We now have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel geared up with the SM-Three Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class goal, which is a step within the means of figuring out its feasibility as a part of an structure for layered protection of the homeland. My congratulations to your entire take a look at crew, together with our navy and business companions, who helped us to realize this milestone.”