U.S. Navy shoots down ICBM in 'defense of Hawaii' test

( Washington Times )

The U.S. military early Tuesday morning shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean in what officials called a “defense of Hawaii scenario,” demonstrating a new capability to counter potential attacks by North Korea, China or other actors in the increasingly tense Pacific theater.

The test — the first time American forces have shot down an ICBM with sea-based interceptors — was carried out by the Navy in conjunction with the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. Using a SM-3 Block IIA missile, sailors aboard the USS John Finn targeted an ICBM that was launched from the Marshall Islands.

The ICBM was headed “toward the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii” when it was successfully shot down.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program,” said Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill. “The department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat.”

Tuesday’s test represents a key “step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland,” he said. “My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone.”

Officials with Raytheon, the contractor that co-developed the SM-3 Block IIA missile defense interceptors, called the successful launch “an unprecedented homeland defense test.”

“This first-of-its-kind test shows that our nation has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of strategic missile defense at Raytheon Missiles and Defense.

Raytheon co-developed the SM-3 with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Tuesday’s test comes just weeks after North Korea unveiled a massive new ICBM during a military parade.

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