An SM-3 Block IIA missile, co-developed by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has successfully made its first interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target outside the Earth’s atmosphere in an historic Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test, the companies announced on 17 November.

This first-of-its-kind test shows that our nation has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats," commented Bryan Rosselli, VP of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. The SM-3 family of interceptors has executed more exo-atmospheric intercepts than all other missiles combined, and is the only weapon of its kind deployed both at sea and on land.

Sensors from Raytheon Intelligence & Space also formed part of the historic test from low-earth orbit, detecting and tracking the target and relaying the data to decision-makers in a demonstration of space-based early warning.

The SM-3 Block IIA, co-developed by the US and Japan, can be deployed from naval vessels or fixed shore installations. (Image via MHI)

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