December 17, 2007
Historic Test Off Hawaii's Coast
Japan, the first U.S. ally to procure an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system and several Standard Missile-3s (SM-3), successfully conducted its first flight test today from the Hawaii-based Pacific Missile Range Facility, intercepting a target using an SM-3 fired from the Japanese destroyer JS Kongo (DDG 173). Behind the scenes of this historic flight test, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) performed a wide range of activities, as the Aegis BMD program's technical direction agent, that contributed to the event's success.
APL helped the Japanese Navy prepare for JFTM-1 (Japan Flight Test Mission-1) by planning the mission scenario and conducting preflight predictions of the missile and weapon system's performance through hundreds of missile-flight simulations that ensure sound missile performance. APL helped determine the launch window and conducted various debris analyses to ensure safety on the test range.
A close-up look at intercept was captured by an APL-developed sensor package placed on the target. Additionally, the sensors collected video and infrared imagery of the ignition and burn out of the target's booster motors, and the booster's separation.
APL engineers are now analyzing the data and will update simulation models that could enhance accuracy of future Japanese missile flight tests.
JFTM-1 marked APL's 17th Aegis-based flight test to date since the test series began in 1997.
MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program. Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is the prime contractor for the development of the SM-3. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., manages the development of the Aegis BMD Weapon System installed in Aegis cruisers and destroyers.
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Credit: U.S. Navy Photos
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.