The Aegis ballistic-missile defense system continued its string of successful tests Wednesday, when a missile launched from the cruiser Lake Erie hit and destroyed a Hawaii-launched target, according to a Defense Department news release.
It was the fourth-straight successful BMD test for the Aegis program, according to Missile Defense Agency records, and the second in nine days: A missile launched from the destroyer Decatur hit a target in a Sept. 10 test near Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
On Wednesday, sailors aboard Lake Erie tracked a separating short-range ballistic target and launched two Standard Missile-3 missiles to intercept it — a first for the program, the release said. The first of the SM-3s scored a hit on what the release said was “the most difficult target engaged to date.”
It’s the 27th successful intercept in 33 tries for the Aegis BMD program, which began testing in 2002. The program has hit 10 targets in 12 attempts since mid-2009, with the most recent miss coming last October in a joint test with the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.