August 3, 2015 / 5:45 PM / 5 years ago

Raytheon SM-6 intercepts ballistic missile target in key test

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Raytheon Co’s Standard Missile-6 intercepted and destroyed a short-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii last week, the Pentagon said on Monday, paving the way for the SM-6 to be deployed on U.S. Navy Aegis ships next year.

The test was one of four successful tests completed last week by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Pacific Command and the crew of the USS John Paul Jones, a Navy destroyer, which showed the ability of SM-6 and SM-2 missiles to destroy enemy cruise and ballistic missiles.

“This important test campaign not only demonstrated an additional terminal defense layer of the (Ballistic Missile Defense System), it also proved the robustness of the multi-use SM-6 missile on-board a Navy destroyer,” Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral James Syring said in a statement.

The SM-6 missile intercepted a ballistic missile target in its final seconds of flight on July 28, followed by three more tests over the next days. MDA fired two more SM-6 missiles in anti-air warfare roles to engage cruise missile targets and an SM-2 Block IV missile was fired against a ballistic missile threat.

All the tests occurred at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

The MDA said it would used the test results to improve and enhance the multilayered U.S. missile defense system, which defends against a range of ballistic missile threats in all phases of flight.

Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, said the SM-6 missile offered the Navy greater flexibility to address a broad range of threats.

“SM-6 is the only missile in the world that can do both anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense from sea,” Lawrence said in a statement.

Raytheon said the SM-6 missile would be integrated into MDA’s Sea-Based Terminal program on board U.S. Navy ships as part of the Aegis missile defense system, and was on track to be ready for combat use in 2016. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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