Navy Intercepts Ballistic Missile Target in Fleet Exercise Pacific Blitz

  • (Source: Missile Defense agency)
  • 12:00 AM, November 3, 2008
  • 2264
PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, KAUAI, HAWAII --- Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, announced today the successful Navy intercept of a ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean during Fleet Exercise Pacific Blitz. This was the first Fleet operational firing to employ the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) against a ballistic missile target. Command and control of this mission resided with Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, based in San Diego, Calif.>> Pearl Harbor-based Aegis destroyers, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) and USS Hopper (DDG 70), which have been upgraded to engage ballistic missiles, fired SM-3 missiles at separate targets. During this event, a short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii.>> Upon detecting and tracking the target, USS Paul Hamilton, launched a SM-3 missile, resulting in a direct-hit intercept. Following USS Paul Hamiltons engagement, PMRF launched another target. USS Hopper successfully detected, tracked and engaged the target. The SM-3 followed a nominal trajectory, however intercept was not achieved. Extensive analysis of the flight mission will be used to improve the deployed Aegis BMD system. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight record is 16 of 19 intercepts.>> The successful engagement of ballistic missile targets from ships at sea is extraordinary, Locklear said. Pacific Blitz highlights the successful transition from developmental test flights to operational fleet execution and demonstrates the viability of the Maritime BMD Concept of Operations.