Friday, December 17, 1999

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
A missile rises from the Pacific Range on Kauai
Tuesday, in a successful Navy test firing.

Navy tests missiles
from range on Kauai

By Anthony Sommer


BARKING SANDS, Kauai -- Missiles designed to be used in the Navy's Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Program were successfully fired twice this week at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

The test flights yesterday and Tuesday from the destroyer USS O'Kane marked the first at-sea firings of the new rockets.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility on the west tip of Kauai is the designated test site for the Navy's new missiles, which are designed to hit and destroy enemy rockets above the atmosphere.

The two missiles fired this week were variants of the Standard Missile 2, the current weapon used to protect Navy ships from cruise missiles and aircraft attack.

The improved Standard Missile 2 is slated to become the Navy's weapon for knocking down incoming missiles at medium ranges, and is expected to be operational in about five years.

This fall, the Navy successfully fired the first Standard Missile 3, which will be used against incoming rockets at longer ranges, from a cruiser offshore of Kauai.

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