The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said its new Sea Based Terminal (SBT) system achieved its second ballistic missile intercept during a Dec. 14 test over the Pacific Ocean.
During the test, the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), a Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer equipped with the Lockheed Martin [LMT] Aegis combat system, fired a salvo of two Raytheon [RTN] Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) interceptors in immediate succession against a medium-range ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The first interceptor was not armed and was designed to collect test data, MDA said. The second interceptor, which carried an explosive warhead, intercepted the Lockheed Martin-built target.
“This test demonstrated the capabilities MDA and the Navy are delivering to our fleet commanders,” said Vice Adm. Jim Syring, MDA’s director.
MDA called the target “complex” but declined to elaborate. However, according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, the target emulated China’s Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), a ballistic missile equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle and designed to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.
The event, designated Flight Test Standard Missile-27 (FTM-27), was SBT’s first salvo test and its second intercept in as many tries. During SBT’s first intercept test, an SM-6 shot down a short-range ballistic missile target in July 2015.
SBT is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of flight, when they re-enter the atmosphere. The SM-6 was developed for cruise and ballistic missile defense and anti-surface warfare. Raytheon has delivered more than 300 SM-6s.