Navy successfully tests new missile defense system

U.S. forces completed the successful test of a next-generation defense system, by knocking out an incoming ballistic missile near Hawaii on Wednesday.

The Navy’s interceptor program is designed to protect the U.S. and its allies from potential missile attacks from the likes of Iran and North Korea.

"This next-generation variant of the SM-3 is critical to the ballistic missile defense of the U.S. and our allies, because it can defeat the more sophisticated threats emerging around the world today," said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president.

And after failing the same test last September during its maiden trial, the Raytheon co-built missile shield this time performed as expected. "Initial indications are that all components performed as designed," the agency said in an emailed statement.

"The U.S. Navy lit up the sky, knocking out the target missile," said Riki Ellison, a prominent missile-defence advocate who observed the test.

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The program is cornerstone of phase two of the Obama administration's Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), due to be employed in Romania by 2015.

It will also be used on ships equipped with Lockheed Martin Corp.'s "Aegis" anti-missile combat system, Reuters said. The Aegis system, named after the mythological shield that defended Zeus, ties together sensors, computers, displays, weapons launchers and weapons.

Raytheon's SM-3 Block IB is based on the highly successful SM-3 Block IA, which is currently deployed as part of the first phase of the PAA.

"Raytheon has delivered more than 130 SM-3 Block IAs ahead of schedule and under cost," said Wes Kremer, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Air and Missile Defense Systems product line.

"We are on track to deliver the SM-3 Block IB to the nation by 2015 for deployment at sea and ashore."

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