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ADF support US ballistic missile interception testing off Hawaii

USS Jack H Lucas sails past HMAS Stuart during Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres with USS Preble and USS Jack H Lucas as part of the FTM-32 Mission during a Pacific deployment. Photo: LSIS Rikki-Lea Phillips

Australian Defence Force personnel have supported the successful interception of a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii.

Australian Defence Force personnel have supported the successful interception of a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii.

Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force assets supported the successful integrated air and missile defence test conducted by the US Missile Defense Agency and the US Navy, according to a Defence statement published on March 29.

The US MDA evaluated capabilities against a priority threat target and demonstrated the capability of the Aegis Weapon System to detect, track, engage, and intercept an MRBM target in the terminal phase of flight.

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During the test, Australia demonstrated its advanced radar capabilities aboard a Navy vessel, HMAS Stuart, while a RAAF E-7 Wedgetail assisted in data collection and communications.

“This was a unique opportunity to work closely with the US Missile Defense Agency and US Navy as they tested the Aegis Weapon System’s ability to detect, track and defend against short-to-medium range ballistic missiles, while we simultaneously observed the performance of our own systems,” according to Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton AO CSC.

“It is a great example of our deepening defence engagement with the US and an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the Australian Defence Force’s interoperability with the US Navy.”

US Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Heath Collins said the successful intercept against an advanced threat-representative target in the final stages of flight demonstrated the power and flexibility of the Aegis Weapons System.

“The Missile Defense Agency is very grateful and honoured to have had Australia participate in this important test and we look forward to working together with all of our allies on future collaborations to detect and maintain deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,” Collins said.

In February this year the US Navy and Missile Defense Agency announced a multi-sensor test of the Aegis Weapon System to track and discriminate medium-range ballistic missile target with countermeasures has been successfully completed.

The test was planned as a tracking event of a complex target with the primary objective of collecting data on the target scene from multiple sensors across different viewing angles; by firing and intercepting a Standard Missile – 3 Block IIA (SM-3 Blk IIA)

It was conducted by two US Navy’s Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyers, the USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), along with Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and Advanced Radar Development Evaluation Laboratory.

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