In a large-scale, multinational exercise, a Raytheon-made Standard Missile-3 successfully engaged a ballistic missile target fired from a U.K. range in the Outer Hebrides near Scotland - the first time the interceptor was tested in European waters. SM-3 is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. This "hit-to-kill" missile interceptor uses an exoatmospheric "kill vehicle" to collide with targets in space, a capability that's been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet. The massive collision of the kill vehicle hitting its target obliterates the threat completely-explosives are not necessary. The resulting impact is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph. The test, At Sea Demo (ASD) 2015, was organized by the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum, a group of countries dedicated to improving sea-based missile defense through improved cooperation and interoperability.
This test is historic in many ways, said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. Not only was this a multinational effort on a scale never seen before, it was reflective of Europe’s commitment to the NATO ballistic missile defense mission.
For the scenario, a short-range Terrier Orion ballistic missile target was launched from Hebrides Range and was inflight simultaneously with two anti-ship cruise missiles fired at the coalition task group. Ross fired a SM-3 and successfully engaged the ballistic missile target in space. In its air defense role, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) fired a SM-2, which is the first time a SM-2 was fired on the Hebrides Range.
“We witnessed world-class regional defense,” said Amy Cohen, director of the Standard Missile-3 program. “It was particularly meaningful for our NATO allies, because those are the nations we’re actively protecting.” SM-3 destroys its targets with nothing more than sheer impact. It is currently deployed on U.S. Navy ships in Europe’s coastal waters. The first land-based SM-3 site, often referred to as “Aegis Ashore,” is scheduled to become operational later this year in Romania.
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