New SM-6 intercepts ballistic missile target at sea

Missile Defense Agency

News sources reported this morning that the US military shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawai'i, one day after North Korea test-launched a similar missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

"The recent ballistic missile defense test off the coast of Hawaii demonstrates that Aegis can execute complicated missions against a medium-range ballistic missile target", said Paul Klammer, director, Aegis BMD, for Lockheed Martin.

Guided-missile destroyers such as the John Paul Jones could be used to intercept a North Korean missile from locations in the Sea of Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific.

By firing a long-range missile over Japan that landed in the northern Pacific Ocean, North Korea is showing a total disregard for its worldwide obligations, she said in a statement Tuesday.




While Tokyo said the North Korean test was "an unprecedented, serious and grave threat" to the Japanese nation, Pyongyang described it as "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam Island", as well as "decisive countermeasures against joint military exercises", referring to the US base in Micronesia and the joint US-South Korea drills respectively.

The destroyer fired a Standard Missile-6 or SM-6 interceptor. The U.S. Navy test-launched a Standard-Missile-6 missile in July 2015 for the first time, successfully intercepting and destroying a short-range ballistic missile target at sea in its terminal phase. That was the 15th intercept in 15 tests for the THAAD system, according to the MDA.

The ground-based interceptor system was designed mainly to counter a North Korean missile threat, a US official said at the time.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been rising in recent months over Pyongyang's development of its nuclear programme.

Due to the diplomatic efforts and sanctions failing to make headway in stopping the North Korea threat, Higbie is concerned the USA may be forced to consider the military options.

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