Aegis BMD Stellar Minotaur (FTM-18) Flight Mission Success Quicklook
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Aegis BMD Stellar Minotaur (FTM-18) Flight Mission Success Quicklook

On June 26, 2012, the US Navy and the Missile Defense Agency achieved
another successful intercept of a ballistic missile target from the sea further validating the deployed Aegis
Ballistic Missile Defense engagement engagement capability. Flight test mission 18 validated
the performance of the second generation Aegis BMD system and Standard Missiles 3 block IB
against a medium range ballistic missile target which incorporates a separating
mock warhead. A US Navy Aegis cruiser was positioned
over 250 nautical miles off the coast of Kauai, conducting a simulated
wartime patrol. The ship used simulated operational
intelligence to configure the Aegis weapons system to protect the designated
defended area. Based on mission planner outputs the
ship’s crew programmed this SPY-1 radar to perform a search optimized for their
assigned ballistic missile defense mission The medium range target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility
on the island of Kauai. The ship’s crew was not informed of the exact targets location or
launch time. The target flew a nominal trajectory and
roughly halfway through the flight, the mock warhead separated from the booster
as the target rose above the horizon. The SPY-1 radar acquired the target
and placed it in track. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapons
system developed the fire control solution, and the ship’s crew readied the ship for
missile launch. Several minutes after target launch, the
ship’s crew fired the SM-3 Blk IB The missile completed booster burn and
separation followed by second stage rocket motor burn and separation. An airborne camera tracks the missile
throughout most of its flight. During this stage of flight the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
weapon system uplinked guidance commands to the SM-3 Blk IB. After second stage separation,
the third stage rocket motor ignited propelling the SM-3 Blk IB up out of
the atmosphere and into space. After the first pulse of the third
stage burned out, the missile pitched over and ejected
the nosecone exposing the SM-3 Blk IB
Kinetic Warhead. The the missile pitched back towards
the target vehicle. While coasting, the Aegis weapons system
continues to refine the target track and update the SM-3 Blk IB with
the latest data. After a coast period, the second pulse of the third
stage is ignited. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
weapons system provided a final updates with the most precise information
from the SPY-1 radar and ballistic missile defenses
signal processor. The kinetic wrhead was then ejected from the third stage. After separation, the throttable divert and attitude control
system, TDACS, was ignited. The kinetic warhead acquired the target
with the two color sensor, tracked the target and diverted to the
target. As range decreased, the target image
grew in the field of view. The improved divert and attitude control
systems two color seeker and advanced signal processor guided the kinetic warhead to intercept.
“Mark India”, a direct hit. This test demonstrated the systems
ability to acquire, track, and intercept a separating ballistic missile
warhead under operational conditions. Numerous ground, sea, and airbase platforms observes the intercept.
The energy from the impact is calculated to be in excess of
125 mega joules the equivalent of a 10 ton truck traveling
over 600mph, hitting a wall. Another successful intercept for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense which
further validates the deployed Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
engagement capability This was the second successful test
using the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 4.0.1 weapons system including the ballistic missile defense
signal processor and the Standard Missile-3 Blk IB missile. The engagement was performed under strict
operational testing conditions and again validated the capability to intercept
a separating ballistic missile target. This test was an important step for the
second generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.
Further testing this year will continue to confirm operational
effectiveness and suitability, leading to deployment in support of the
Phased Adaptive Approach, phase II. The Missile Defense Agency and the US Navy
are continuing to improve and deploy this Aegis Ballistic Missile
Defense capability and are on course to fulfill the commitments of the
Phased Adaptive Approach. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense,
on target and forward deployed.


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