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US Navy conducts Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 33 using SM-6 air defense missile


According to information published by the United States Navy on July 24, 2021, The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, conducted Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 33 in the broad ocean area northwest of Hawaii, July 24, 2021.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The U.S. Navy USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) is an Arleigh Burke-class of guided missile destroyers built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System is a United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency program developed to provide missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. It enables warships to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles by expanding the Aegis Combat System with the addition of the AN/SPY-1 radar and Standard missile technologies.

The objective of FTM-33 was to intercept a raid of two Short Range Ballistic Missile targets with four Standard Missile-6 Dual II missiles. Based on initial observations, one target was successfully intercepted. At this time, we cannot confirm the second target was destroyed.

FTM-33 was the most complex mission executed by MDA (a raid of two test targets and two SM-6 Dual II salvos consisting of four missiles). It was the third flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM-6 Dual II missile. The SM-6 Dual II missile is designed for use in the terminal phase of a short- to- medium-range ballistic missile trajectory.

FTM-33, originally scheduled for December 2020, was delayed due to restrictions in personnel and equipment movement intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon data obtained during the test.

MDA's mission is to develop and deploy a layered Missile Defense System to defend the U.S., its deployed forces, allies, and friends from missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

The firing ship for the test was the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), an Arleigh Burke-class Flight-IIA guided missile destroyer in service with the United States Navy. The Arleigh Burke-class is built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar.