Menu Dropdown

Calling the Shots: Radars and Missiles Deliver One-Two Punch Over Pacific

A Standard Missile-3 Block IA is fired from the USS Lake Erie.

The operational drill was designed to assess the real-world capability of two of the United States’ most critical missile defense systems: the Standard Missile-3 and the AN/TPY-2 radar.

“This operational test proves our nation has capable, reliable systems deployed today defending the U.S. and its allies against the growing ballistic missile threat,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.

The SM-3 is a ship-based missile defense weapon. The AN/TPY-2 is a billboard-size, high-resolution radar mounted on a truck chassis.

In response to the incoming threat targets, sailors aboard the USS Decatur fired an operationally deployed SM-3 Block IA. The missile launched into space and destroyed one of the medium-range ballistic missile targets by colliding with it, a concept sometimes described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet."

Near simultaneously, a terminal-mode AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar located on Kwajalein Atoll enabled a THAAD missile to intercept the other target. An additional AN/TPY-2 radar operating in forward-based mode detected, discriminated and tracked both targets.

AN/TPY-2 Time Lapse Video
AN/TPY-2 Time Lapse Video

Previous tests have demonstrated the AN/TPY-2 and SM-3 can work seamlessly to eliminate incoming threat targets. Using the mobile radar can greatly extend the missile’s reach.

Raytheon has delivered eight AN/TPY-2s to the Missile Defense Agency. Some of those radars are currently helping defend the United States and its allies in the U.S. military’s European, Pacific and Central Command regions.

"As ballistic missiles continue to proliferate and the weapons become more sophisticated, it's imperative the U.S. and our allies have proven, reliable defensive systems like SM-3 and AN/TPY-2," said Dan Crowley, president of Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.

Published: 11/03/2014

Last Updated: 03/02/2015

Back to Top