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US, Japan conduct Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense test

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A successful test of the Aegis BMD was conducted from Japanese warship JS Myoko in Oct 2009. A USMDA photo

KAUAI, US (BNS): Japan, in partnership with the US, has successfully conducted an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) intercept flight test off the coast of Hawaii.

The test, termed a “significant milestone” in the growing cooperation between Japan and the US in the area of missile defence, was conducted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in partnership with the US Navy on Thursday.

During the test, a separating 1,000 km class ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii at 5:06 pm Hawaii time.

The JMSDF warship JS Kirishima, recently upgraded with the Lockheed Martin-made Aegis Weapon System, then launched a Standard Missile -3 (SM-3) Block IA missile. About three minutes later, the missile traced and destroyed the target missile about 100 miles (160 km) above the Pacific Ocean, the US MDA said.

This is the fourth time when a JMSDF ship engaged a ballistic missile target, including three successful intercepts, with the sea-based midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD, the agency said.

The latest test verified the ballistic missile’s capability to be launched from the recently upgraded JS Kirishima.

US Navy’s Aegis-equipped USS Lake Erie and USS Russell also cooperated to detect, track and conduct a simulated intercept engagement against the same target, the MDA statement said.

The last successful test of the Aegis MDA from Japanese warship JS Myoko was conducted in October 2009. With the latest test, four of Japan’s destroyers are now equipped with the Aegis weapon system.

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