Japanese Navy Destroyer, JS Atago Intercepts Ballistic Missile Target with SM-3 Missile During Aegis BMD Flight Test

A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer, JS Atago (DDG-177) successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target by launching a Standard Missile -3 interceptor during an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) intercept flight test, on Sept. 11, 2018.

The test, designated Japan Flight Test Mission-05 (JFTM-05), was conducted off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii by JMSDF and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in cooperation with the U.S. Navy.

The JFTM-05 test event was conducted in order to demonstrate a successful engagement of a target missile from the JS Atago using the sea-based midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD. It verified the newest BMD engagement capability of the Japan (J6) Aegis BMD configuration of the recently upgraded Japanese destroyer.

The simple separating, ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii at approximately 10:37pm HST on Sept. 11.

The crew members of JS Atago detected and tracked the target. Atago’s Aegis Weapon System (AWS) then developed a fire control solution and a Standard Missile -3 Block IB Threat Upgrade (SM-3 Blk IB TU) interceptor missile was launched. The SM-3 successfully intercepted the target above the Pacific Ocean.

JFTM-05 is a significant milestone in the growing cooperation between Japan and the U.S. in the area of missile defense.

The test marked the first time Japan has tested the sophisticated Raytheon Company SM-3 Block IB interceptor. Japan currently employs the SM-3 Block IA interceptor, but the IB variant’s improved two-color seeker and upgraded throttling divert and attitude control system enables engagements with a larger set of threats.

The SM-3 is produced at American defence major, Raytheon’s Space Factory in Tucson, Arizona, and the company’s integration facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

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