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Missile test incorporates new SPY radar and Australian assets

The US Navy and Missile Defense Agency hit a target using the SM-6 Dual II with Software Upgrade. (Missile Defense Agency)

The US Navy (USN) and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) intercepted an advanced medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) test target using the Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual II with Software Upgrade (SWUP), the MDA confirmed on 28 March.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Jack H Lucas (DDG 125), the first Flight III Aegis destroyer equipped with the new SPY-6 radar, participated in the test as part of its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, the MDA said.

Australia's participation included “a demonstration of radar capabilities of the ANZAC-class frigate HMAS Stuart , with an Australian E-7 Wedgetail aircraft assisting in data collection and communications,” the MDA said.

Australian sensors also provided target track data in support of a cued-organic simulated engagement, the MDA said, noting the “test also represented the most robust participation in an Aegis test to date” by Australia.

Officially called Flight Test Aegis Weapon System (FTM) 32, or Stellar Laelaps, the test demonstrated the capability to detect, track, engage, and intercept an MRBM target in the terminal phase of flight culminating in a live intercept by an Aegis Baseline 9-equipped ship, the MDA said.

The test target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), located in Kauai, Hawaii, the MDA said. Guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) launched the SM-6 Dual II missiles and successfully intercepted the MRBM test target.

Developing and enhancing such missile defence systems has become a greater priority, especially for US naval operations, given the growing ballistic missile threat.

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