In cooperation with the U.S. Navy, the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), Japan’s Ministry of Defense, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced the successful completion of a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA flight test.
The test flight was conducted from the Point Mugu Sea Range, San Nicolas Island, California. Referred to as the SM-3 Block IIA, the Cooperative Development Controlled Test Vehicle-01 was the first live fire of the Raytheon-produced SM-3 Block IIA. The test evaluated the missile’s nose cone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second- and third-stage rocket motor separation. The missile was launched from a MK 41 Vertical Launcher.
The U.S. and Japanese militaries are working conjointly to develop the SM-3 Block IIA. The Block IIA has a larger rocket motor compared to earlier SM-3 blocks which will allow the missile to engage threats sooner and protect larger regions from short- to intermediate-range ballistic threats. SM-3 Block IB has already been deployed at sea and will be deployed ashore in Romania later this year. Block IIA will be deployed at sea and ashore by 2018.
In the fiscal year 2016, the program will continue to go through extensive ground test campaigns to prove system design and missile capacity. There will be a total of 5 flight tests through fiscal year 2018. Later this month, the MDA is expected to conduct the first intercept test with the SM-3 IB from an Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test site in Hawaii.
To complete testing and development, the MDA will need $172.6 million for the fiscal year 2016. Overall, they will need another $8.1 billion. However, due to the Budget Control Act, it is likely they will only get $6.7 billion. Previous spending cuts have already forced delays in the Black IIA testing schedule. The MDA is not allowed to take funding from the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which is shielding most of the remaining defense budget from further BCA cuts.
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