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US Navy successfully intercepts a ballistic missile in space

2nd June 2021 - 18:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The De Zeven Provinciën (equipped with the SMART-L MM/N radar) pictured with USS Paul Ignatius. (Photo: Thales)

US Navy intercepts a ballistic missile in space using data from the Thales SMART-L MM/N radar.

USN Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Paul Ignatius used data from the Thales SMART-L MM/N long-range naval surveillance radar to conduct a Launch on Remote test of a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3).

The data was used to guide the SM-3 and intercept a non-separating ballistic missile, which was outside Earth’s atmosphere.

The test took place during the At Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 (ASD/FS21) exercise, which ends on 3 June.

The SMART-L MM/N radar was installed on the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën.

Without being cued, it autonomously detected and tracked the ballistic missile for more than five minutes as it reached speeds of 3km/s and an altitude of more than 300km.

ASD/FS21 involves ten countries, 15 ships and a variety of aircraft and land-based assets.

Other scenarios that tested the SMART-L MM/N were the engagement against a supersonic sea-skimming cruise missile and an integrated air and missile defence scenario, in which adversary aircraft were tracked at the same time as a ballistic missile threat.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, SMART-L is a 3D system transmitting in the D band and capable of detecting targets at a range of up to 400km.

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