View Full Version : U.S.S. Hopper shoot's down missle during test

07-31-2009, 07:16 PM
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy carried out a successful ballistic missile defense (BMD) test July 30 near Hawaii, shooting down a ballistic missile target and performing several tracking and engineering tests.

The firing event, dubbed Stellar Avenger, featured the destroyer Hopper, which used its Aegis BMD version 3.6 combat system to detect, track and engage a sub-scale, short-range ballistic missile target launched from the Kauai Test Facility. The Hopper shot a Standard SM-3 Block IA surface-to-air missile at the target, which was intercepted in its ascent phase about 200 miles downrange at an altitude of about 100 miles, according to the MDA. The SM-3 was in flight for about two minutes before it struck the target in a direct, body-to-body hit.

Two other ships, the destroyer O'Kane and cruiser Lake Erie, took part in the exercise.

The O'Kane, using Aegis 3.6, carried out a simulated engagement using an SM-3 Block IB missile, which features improvements including a two-color seeker for further discrimination. A live-fire exercise using the Block IB is scheduled to take place next year. Also on board the O'Kane was a prototype kill assessment system and modified Mark 99 fire control system to collect telemetry data for improved postmission analysis, according to Aegis BMD prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

The Lake Erie, MDA's dedicated test ship, tried out the improved Aegis 4.0 system for the first time in a live, at-sea test. The 4.0 system features an advanced BMD signal processor with better target discrimination capability - helpful for picking out a real target in a field of decoys. The Stellar Avenger shoot allowed the ship to test and calibrate the 4.0 system in preparation for operational certification, scheduled to take place in early 2011.

A second test conducted after the initial live-fire test allowed all three ships to conduct a tracking exercise against a second ballistic missile target, with the two destroyers adding a simulated engagement portion.

The test was the first Aegis BMD exercise to feature two versions of the software in a single event, according to Lisa Callahan, Lockheed's vice president for ballistic missile defense programs.

A goal of the exercises was to test the Aegis system's ability to discern all the different parts and pieces of a ballistic missile, Nick Bucci, Lockheed's director for Aegis BMD development programs, told reporters July 29 during a pre-exercise conference call.

Three more flight tests this fall will further test the system's discrimination capabilities, Bucci added, with each test becoming more complex. The last test will "be against a pretty darn complex target," he said.

The July 30 tests also validated fixes put in place after a BMD test last November involving a missile launched from the Aegis BMD Japanese destroyer Chokai failed to intercept its target, according to MDA spokesman Chris Taylor. The improvements - which were successful in the most recent test - involved fixes to the Solid Divert Attitude Control System.

The Chokai is the second of four Japanese Aegis ships being upgraded with BMD capability. A third ship, the Myoko, is scheduled to carry out a BMD test this fall.

Eighteen U.S. ships - three cruisers and 15 destroyers - are fitted with the full Aegis BMD 3.6 capability, allowing them to detect, track and engage enemy ballistic missiles. Two cruisers and another destroyer will be fitted with 3.6 by the end of this year, Taylor said.

The 2010 defense budget request also asks to fund six additional Aegis BMD ships.


07-31-2009, 07:21 PM
Good to see we can intercept some missiles and even better to see the Japanese are also capable. In my opinion the Japanese will help counter Chinese power.

08-01-2009, 02:20 PM
A comment from Twitter I found funny

madbaldscotsman@ApacheClips I think it would be cool if we did that whenever North Korea tested a missile
about 18 hours ago from web in reply to ApacheClips