A U.S. warship has intercepted and destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target in a test conducted northeast of Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.
The test, conducted on Nov 16, involved an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-equipped destroyer which the MDA did not identify.
“We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target,” said vice admiral and MDA director Jon Hill.
The Standard Missile 3 Block IIA (SM-3 IIA) was developed by a joint venture between Raytheon Co and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
The ICBM was destroyed outside Earth’s atmosphere, Raytheon said in a separate statement.
Hill said the test could augment the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, a network of radars, anti-ballistic missiles and other equipment designed to protect the United States from ICBMs.
“The Department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the GMD system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat,” he said.
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)