Tag Archives: SM-3 interceptor

Golden BB, DDG edition

Lost in the sauce in the past few days resulting in the excitement and afterglow of the recent NASA/SpaceX mission to the International Space Station was an interesting bit of space news.

Well, space/naval news, anyway: the first successful smackdown of a (simulated) ICBM at extreme altitude by a destroyer-launched SM-3.

As noted in a DOD presser:

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS John Finn (DDG-113), an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer, intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, Nov. 16.

This event, designated Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44), was the sixth flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile. FTM-44 satisfies a Congressional mandate to evaluate the feasibility of the SM-3 Block IIA missile’s capability to defeat an ICBM threat before the end of 2020.

“This first-of-its-kind test shows that our nation has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

An Aegis cruiser, without the hull

On Sept. 17, 2009, President Obama announced that the United States would provide missile defenses to NATO, to include the deployment of SM-3 interceptor missiles at landbased sites in Romania and Poland. Now of course the SM-3 is a naval missile, so this led to a new take on an old idea.

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) at Naval Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu, Romania is Phase 2 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to ballistic missile defense. AAMDS has many of the same components used at sea on guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, to include the Aegis Weapon System, Mk. 41 Vertical Launch System, and SPY-1 radar, but it can only fire the SM-3.

In short, it’s an unsinkable cruiser in a corn field so to speak.

The Navy just released some B-roll footage of the base inside and out including the “Deckhouse” and CIC, which is kinda rare access, so take the silent tour in the two videos below, before they disappear in the name of OPSEC.