An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was shot down in space from a warship for the first time during a successful demonstration on Tuesday, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
The ICBM target missile launched from a test range in the Marshall Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines around 12:50 a.m., and was shot down in space by a missile launched from a U.S. warship at sea, the MDA announced.
It was destroyed by an advanced SM-3 Block IIA ballistic missile defense interceptor made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and co-developed with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a statement said.
“This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program,” said MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill. We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland.”
Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said the test was a “first-of-its-kind” and shows that the U.S. “has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats.”
Previous tests to shoot down ICBMs were conducted using ground-based interceptors launched from bases in Alaska and California.
“My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone,” Hill added.