US Navy sailors aboard USS John Finn successfully conducted an intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target with a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missile during a test off the west coast of Hawaii.

This comes after two consecutive failures.

On October 26th, 2018, the target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The USS John Finn detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system.

Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target, say the DoD.

“This was a superb accomplishment and key milestone for the SM-3 Block IIA return to flight,” Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said in a statement.

“My congratulations to the entire team, including our sailors, industry partners, and allies who helped achieve this milestone.”

“This second intercept for the SM-3 Block IIA is a success we share with the Missile Defense Agency and the country of Japan, our cooperative development partners,” Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president, said in a statement.

“Together, we are building the most advanced solutions for ballistic missile defense.”

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan and operates as part of the AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system.

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I remember Putin stating this was the most pointless system ever as they had over 10,000 ballistic missiles. Give how expensive it is, is it worth while pursuing to give a false sense of security or would is actually be useful in the case one gets launched by accident?

Patrick C

They definitely weren’t designed to counter russian ICBMs, they were meant to counter a limited launch of ballistic missiles from either north korea or iran (and if you see where the land based launchers are in europe, you’d see those were to counter iran, not russia). I believe they would also be employed against Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles like the DF-21D. If I understand correctly, these missiles are extremely capable and have a range of well over 1,000 miles, so in a battle in the south china sea or north korea area that gives them a pretty potent defense against… Read more »


Valid point on N Korea. I am thinking more in terms of the UK option of adopting it. We seem to have been frozen out of the Franco/Italian program so I don’t see the point in the UK spending enormous sums on it when our defense budget is so far stretched if it does not offer a huge benefit. The Dutch seem keen to purchase some in the near future, maybe they can take the lead on protecting Europe since we have air craft carriers and ballistic submarines to pay for.

Paul T

As a ‘what if’ – I wonder if it would be possible for a Type 45/Sampson radar to guide a SM-3 Block IIA fired from a Type 26 (via MK 41) onto a target in the same way,or is this capability AEGIS specific ?

Patrick C

Have Type-45s been fitted with Cooperative Engagement Capability? I know the UK was a part of that program but I don’t know if they ended up purchasing it or not. That seems like a real force multiplier when it comes to air/missile defense.

Paul T

Patrick- from previous comments on this site the answer is no unfortunately,maybe it will be addressed in the future.


It is worth pursuing as lessons learned may lead to much better systems in the future. Plus if this or similar systems are developed by other NATO nations then it is possible that more than 10,000 missiles could be defended against as Russia are unlikely to fire them all at one target and then leave themselves open to attack from everyone else.

Patrick C

I read a study recently (thought it may have been outdated) that with the newer, more accurate re-entry vehicles placed on American ICBMs, and the fact that Russia’s missiles are liquid fueled, that the American’s could make an effective first strike against Russia’s nuclear forces leaving their ability to retaliate crippled. I don’t see that ever playing out but it was an interesting article none the less. As far as the SM-3, there were some other developments going on using the missile itself as a launch vehicle for Promp Global Strike. DARPA had a program going on calling Arclight which… Read more »


Also does Russia have the capability to launch all 10,000 at once? Or do they just have that many missiles?

Daniele Mandelli

Would make no sense to as there could be no limited strike in return. Means civilisations end as the US would have to respond in kind.

I thought they had about 6 to 7000 Warheads not missiles. No way are there 10000 silos in Russia.

Cam hunter

Russia doesn’t gave that many missiles! It’s just talk! Russia proved in the Cold War they could fool the west into thinking they have far far more than they actually do! Looks like the west hasn’t learned anything!… And Russia would never ever launch any nukes just like the west won’t!.. so who cares about Russia’s nukes! They just talk shit….


Russians that “just talk shit” and American leaders that “just talk shit”. Sounds like a recipe for a willy-waving disaster!