Missile Defense Interceptors Knock Down Targets in Test

US ballistic missile defense assets shot down two target missiles in a “complex” live-fire test in the Pacific Ocean area on Tuesday local time, announced the Defense Department. Flight Test Operational-01, conducted in the vicinity of the Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll and in surrounding areas of the western Pacific, “demonstrated integrated, layered, regional missile defense capabilities to defeat a raid of two threat-representative medium-range ballistic missiles,” states DOD’s Sept. 10 release. After receiving cues from other sensors, radar aboard the Aegis destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73) detected and tracked the first target missile, and sailors aboard the ship then launched a Standard Missile-3 Block IA missile that intercepted it. Meanwhile, soldiers fired a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor that brought down the second target. “Initial indications are that all components performed as designed,” states the release. Airmen in a command center in Hawaii supported the test. DOD officials said the test, planned more than a year ago, was not connected to events in the Middle East. (See also Reuters report.)