Last updated: 04/12/2013*

Jan. 25, 2002 mission was the first interception of a ballistic missile from a sea-based platform.

Ten years ago today, the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy conducted the first successful flight test of Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3. It was a proud moment for many Raytheon engineers who had worked tirelessly for years to make the science-fiction concept a reality.

"The first intercept success was very special and memorable," said Ed Miyashiro, deputy vice president and general manager of Raytheon Missile Systems. "It makes me very proud to be part of the team that proved we could intercept ballistic missiles in space using ship-based assets."

On Jan. 25, 2002, an Aries target missile was launched from Kauai, Hawaii. A U.S. Navy ship located off of the coast of Hawaii detected the inbound missile and launched a developmental SM-3 to take out the simulated threat. The kinetic energy of the impact destroyed the target in space.

"I keep this date on my calendar like it's my child’s birthday," said Kathrin Kjos, the systems architect on the original SM-3 program team. "It’s that important to me. It was a once-in-a-career experience."

The original SM-3 team members proudly display the January 2002 SM-3 cover issue of Aviation Week in their offices to commemorate the event.

"We started calling ourselves 'plank owners' because we were around from the very beginning," said Kathrin. A "plank owner" is a U.S. Navy term used to describe an "original" crew member aboard a ship newly placed into commission.

Today, Raytheon’s SM-3 has grown into the centerpiece of the nation’s ballistic missile defense architecture.

"The development of SM-3 has been very gratifying and exciting to watch," said Kathrin. "It is a great feeling to have been part of a wonderful Raytheon and customer team that has developed such a capable and flexible defensive asset for the country."

As the threat evolves, SM-3’s flexible, ship-based protection will become increasingly important in the defense of both the U.S. and allies around the world.

"Recalling how all the talented, dedicated people worked so hard to make this intercept happen… almost brings tears to my eyes," said Ed.


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