European-aided SM-3 intercept

By Justin Doubleday / October 21, 2015 at 10:56 AM

A U.S. destroyer successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target using a Standard Missile-3 interceptor during a multinational exercise off the coast of Scotland Oct. 20, marking the first intercept of a ballistic missile threat in Europe, according to the Navy.

The intercept occurred as part of the Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD) Forum's At Sea Demonstration (ASD), a month-long exercise involving 10 nations.

As part of the intercept test, the destroyer Ross (DDG-71) fired the SM-3 Block IA at the ballistic missile target after receiving cues from Spanish and Dutch ships, according to an Oct. 20 Navy press release, signifying the first time international ships have transmitted BMD cues to a U.S. destroyer. While the Ross was engaging the ballistic missile, the destroyer The Sullivans (DDG-68) used an SM-2 to destroy an anti-ship cruise missile target.

The Navy stated that the demonstration is also the first time "multinational, beyond-line-of-sight link architecture" has been used for integrated air and missile defense purposes in Europe.

"The execution of the live-fire exercise is a clear demonstration of the forum's ability to safely conduct effective coalition sea-based defense against simultaneous anti-ship and ballistic missile threats within an operational scenario," Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of naval forces Europe and Africa, said in an Oct. 20 statement on the successful intercept.

Inside the Navy has previously reported on ASD-15, which is ongoing this month. It involves 10 nations: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.