File photo: SM-3 missile.
Washington (AFP) Jun 21, 2006
A US warship prepared to shoot down a mock warhead of a medium-range missile over the Pacific Wednesday in the latest of a series of tests of a sea-based missile defense system, a spokesman said. It comes amid tensions over North Korean preparations to launch a long-range missile, but a spokesman for the US Missile Defense Agency said the missile defense test had been planned for months.
"It has nothing to do with North Korea or anything else," said Rick Lehner, the agency's spokesman.
It was the second test intercept of a separating warhead, but the first with an operationally configured interceptor missile that is slated for deployment in the US Navy later this year.
The test involves a medium-range target missile that will be launched from a site in Kauai, Hawaii.
An Aegis-guided missile cruiser off Kauai will fire a ship-based SM-3 Block IA missile in an attempt to intercept the mock warhead after it separates from the main body of the target missile.
The cruiser "will detect and track the target with its SPY-1B radar; develop a fire control solution; and its crew will fire the SM-3 Block IA missile," the Missile Defense Agency said.
The three-stage interceptor missile has a kinetic warhead that will be ejected from the third stage.
It "will acquire, track, and divert toward the target, and complete the intercept of the target's reentry vehicle," the agency said.Related Links
US Missile Defenses Likely Activated For North Korean Test
Washington (AFP) Jun 20, 2006
The launch of a long-range North Korean missile would provide the first real test of a US missile defense system that has cost billions of dollars to build and is still in development, analysts said Tuesday. The Washington Times, citing US officials, said the system has been activated in the past two weeks amid signs North Korea is preparing to launch an intercontinental Taepodong-2 missile.