KAUAI, Hawaii, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force achieved its third ballistic missile intercept during ongoing tests with a Raytheon Co. Standard Missile-3.
The Thursday operational test marked the 18th Standard Missile-3 intercept, with the Standard Missile-3 Block IA missile targeting, intercepting and subsequently destroying a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean, Raytheon reported Friday.
Raytheon Missile Systems President Taylor W. Lawrence said: "This successful flight test adds to SM-3's long and impressive list of hit-to-kill intercepts. Japan now has a fourth destroyer fully qualified to employ SM-3 against threat ballistic missiles."
U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target, which Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer crew, operating off Hawaii's Kauai coast, detected and tracked before firing the Standard Missile-3.
Raytheon developed SM-3 as part of the U.S. Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and more than 100 SM-3s have been deployed on U.S. Aegis cruisers and destroyers and Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and mid-course phases of flight.