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U.S., Japan to again test missile intercept


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three warships from the Japanese and U.S navies will attempt another midflight missile interception today with the destroyer JS Myoko scheduled to launch an SM-3 missile from waters off Kauai's Barking Sands missile range.

Two Pearl harbor warships—the destroyer USS Paul Hamilton and cruiser USS Lake Erie—will track the drone missile but not fire any interceptors.

The 428-foot destroyer Myoko is the third of four Japanese destroyers outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense

system. Lockheed Martin received a $40.4 million contract to do the modification last year.

Today's test is to verify the capability of the Aegis weapon system that was recently installed on the 9,500-ton Myoko.

The Aegis command and control system integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK-41 vertical launching system and the SM-3 missile.

In December 2007 the JS Kongo successfully intercepted a ballistic missile with its Aegis system. The target missile was fired from Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility. The Kongo was the first Japanese destroyer equipped with the Aegis missile system.

The following November, the JS Chokai successfully searched, detected and tracked a drone fired from Kauai but did not destroy it.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said there has been no determination so far on what caused the missile to miss its target, noting that “;the interceptor missile flew normally until the final seconds.”;

Since 2002, when the sea-based Aegis missile tests began, there have been 19 hits out of 23 attempts.