US Missile Defense Agency, WASHINGTON: The U.S. Navy, in cooperation with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), successfully conducted a ballistic missile defense (BMD) demonstration May 24 involving the intercept of a target missile in the terminal phase (the last few seconds) of flight. 
 
The test involved an Aegis cruiser modified to detect, control and engage a ballistic missile target with a modified Standard Missile – 2 (SM-2) Block IV. The Pearl Harbor-based Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) conducted the mission against a short-range target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. 
 
It was the first sea-based intercept of a ballistic missile in its terminal phase. 
 
The modified Aegis Weapon System and the modified SM-2 Block IV provided the firing ship the capability to guide the missile to achieve either a direct body-to-body hit between the interceptor and the threat or a near-direct hit where the high pressure, heat and fragments are placed on the threat by a blast fragmentation warhead. 
 
This warhead is similar in concept to that used in the deployed Israeli Arrow system. In this test, the threat missile was completely destroyed by the combined effects of these two mechanisms. 
 
“This is another example of the ongoing cooperative spirit between the Navy and the Missile Defense Agency,” said Rear Adm. Barry McCullough, director, Surface Warfare, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. “We believe it is an important step towards the desired end-state of a robust sea-based terminal ballistic missile defense capability, and it begins to meet an immediate near-term concern of our combatant commanders.

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