US Tests Ballistic Missile Defence System Off Hawai Coast

US Navy Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin supported USS John Paul Jones has fired two Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual I missiles from the Aegis Combat System against a medium-range ballistic missile target.

The target was a medium-range ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

Mike Campisi, Raytheon's SM-6 senior program director, said the company developed the anti-ballistic missile capability in just seven months after it was requested earlier this year.

Guided-missile destroyers such as the John Paul Jones could be used to intercept a North Korean missile from locations in the Sea of Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific. It's the second time that particular type of missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target, the agency said.

The test comes a day after Pyongyang test-launched a ballistic missile over Japan.

A USA official, however, told CNN the test had been planned for a long time and before North Korea's latest provocation. It's the only missile that supports anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and sea-based terminal ballistic missile defense in one solutionand it's enabling the US and its allies to cost-effectively increase the offensive might of surface forces.

"North Korea's reckless violation of its neighbours' territorial sovereignty and its direct threat to Japan's citizens have threatened both regional and global peace and security", she said. Earlier this week, an intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as a Hwasong-12, was sacked over Japan.

Like prior versions in Raytheon's Standard Missile series, the SM-6 originally was developed to shoot down air threats like cruise missiles and aircraft. A Standard Missile-3 Block IIA jointly developed by the USA and Japan failed to intercept its target. That was the 15th intercept in 15 tests for the THAAD system, according to the MDA.

  • Joey Payne