USN Tests AEGIS Against MRBM Target With Countermeasures
The test, FTX-23, announced by MDA, was conducted in two parts: target discrimination and engagement. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), and AEGIS Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and Advanced Radar Development Evaluation Laboratory participated in the test.
The first part was a multi-sensor test where the AEGIS system discriminated and tracked an MRBM target with countermeasures. The same target was intercepted with the SM-3 Block IIA missile, the newest of the SM-3 line.
Enemy missiles deploying countermeasures has been discussed as a potential obstacle for ballistic missile defence, recently shown to be true in the Russo-Ukrainian War, where Russia has deployed decoys from a missile smaller than an MRBM, Iskander SRBM.
Aside from AEGIS’s own sensor suite, the interceptor missile must also be capable of discriminating live missiles from decoys.
SM-3 Block IIA, jointly developed by the U.S. and Japan, has a revamped propulsion section with a 21-inch second-stage rocket motor and a new seeker with improved discrimination capabilities to overcome the decoys. Thanks to a significantly enlarged rocket motor, the missile has gained the capability to intercept ICBMs in some cases, as demonstrated in another test.