At approximately 10:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, Feb. 3 a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1D(V) radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target.
“Today’s test demonstrates a critical milestone in the cooperative development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. “The missile, developed jointly by a Japanese and U.S. government and industry team, is vitally important to both our nations and will ultimately improve our ability to defend against increasing ballistic missile threats around the world.”
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), and U.S. Navy Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a flight test Feb. 3 (Hawaii Standard Time), resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way,” — John Paul Jones, Captain Continental Navy, letter to Le Ray de Chaumont (16 November 1778).
U.S. Navy photo by Leah Garton (2048×1366)
Sailors on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) conduct two developmental flight tests of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile off the coast of Hawaii.
“The flight tests demonstrated the successful performance of design modifications to the SM-3 third-stage rocket motor nozzle.”
Incidentally, this particular Burke is only the second U.S. Navy warship to be named for a woman, after computer scientist Rear Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hopper, who earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale in 1934, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944 (where she literally had to debug the huge device of moths), went on to craft validation software for COBOL, etc.
She was so valuable that, even though she was officially retired at age 60 as per regs, she was recalled and remained on active duty for several years by special approval of Congress, finally mustering out at age 79 and change.
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.