A next-generation interceptor made by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems destroyed a ballistic missile late Thursday, the company and the U.S. Missile Defense agency said Friday.
During the test of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie detected and tracked a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and fired one SM-3.
The SM-3 maneuvered and released a kinetic warhead that tracked target's re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path and hit and destroyed the target, the Missile Defense Agency said.
The test was the 26th successful intercept for the SM-3 program and the fifth back-to-back successful test of the next-generation SM-3 Block IB missile.
The previous SM-3 Block IB test flight on Sept. 18 was the highest intercept for the system, reaching higher than a modified SM-3 that destroyed a failed satellite in a highly publicized shootdown in 2008, Raytheon said. The exact altitude is classified.
The latest tests show the SM-3 Block 1B is on schedule for deployment in 2015, Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, said in prepared remarks.