The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy recently successfully test fired two Standard Missile (SM)-6 in a salvo against a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target, using the Aegis Weapon System.

This test, called Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 31 Event 1a (FTM-31 E1a), occurred on March 30 with the USS Daniel Inouye

(DDG-118) launching the SM-6s off the northwest coast of Hawaii against a single target, with intercept occurring during the mock threat target’s terminal flight phase.

The MRBM-representative target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. MDA said this event aimed to demonstrate the capability of a ballistic missile defense-configured Aegis ship to detect, track, engage and intercept an MRBM target using a salvo of two SM-6 Dual II missiles with Software Upgrade (SWUP).

MDA boasted FTM-31 E1a was the third successful flight test of an Aegis missile defense-equipped ship using the SM-6 Dual II missile. This was also the first test intercept using the Aegis baseline 9.C2.0 (BMD 5.1) with that specific form of SM-6.

However, this only came after a similar May 2021 FTM-31 E1 “which did not meet all its objectives,” because neither of the two SM-6s intercepted the MRBM-representative target.

MDA now argued the latest successful intercept “validates that the upgraded SM-6 Dual II SWUP capability is now ready for use by the warfighter in order to defend and protect our allies and deployed forces worldwide.”

SM-6 is meant to provide over-the-horizon air defense capability, with the missile able to perform anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, and some ballistic missile defense missions. The SM-6 Dual II SWUP variant is specifically designed to defend against short to medium range ballistic missiles in the terminal flight phase.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and key milestone for the sea-based defense program. This test proved our capabilities in an operationally realistic scenario, which is a critical step in increasing capability to outpace emerging threats,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said in a statement.