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NEWS | April 3, 2023

Missile Defense Agency Test Successfully Intercepts Ballistic Missile Target

By Mark Wright Missile Defense Agency Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN -- The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, successfully conducted Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 31 Event 1a (FTM-31 E1a).

The test demonstrated the capability of a ballistic missile defense (BMD)-configured Aegis ship to detect, track, engage, and intercept a medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) target in the terminal phase of flight utilizing the Standard Missile–6 (SM-6) Dual II with Software Upgrade (SWUP) in a single salvo of two interceptors.

FTM–31 E1a was the third successful flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM–6 Dual II missile and the first Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 (BMD 5.1) intercept of an MRBM target using the SM-6 Dual II SWUP missile.

FTM-31 E1a highlights adjustments made after FTM-31 E1, conducted in May 2021, which did not meet all its objectives. The successful execution of this mission validates that the upgraded SM-6 Dual II SWUP capability is now ready for use by the warfighter in order to defend and protect our allies and deployed forces worldwide.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and key milestone for the Sea-based defense program,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill. “This test proved our capabilities in an operationally realistic scenario, which is a critical step in increasing capability to outpace emerging threats. My congratulations to the entire test team, including our Sailors and our industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone.”

The target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii. The firing ship used for this test was the USS DANIEL INOUYE (DDG 118), which launched two SM-6 Dual II missiles and successfully intercepted the MRBM.

SM-6 delivers over-the-horizon, air defense capability and can perform anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense, and anti-surface warfare missions. The SM–6 Dual II SWUP missile is designed to defend against short-to-medium range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight.

The Sea Based Terminal (SBT) program, with the Aegis Baseline 9 Weapon System and SM-6 missile, is instrumental in MDA’s efforts to deliver a capability to the Navy to defend high value assets at sea and ashore against advanced threats in the terminal phase of flight. SBT is an incremental and evolving capability for ballistic and regional hypersonic defense capability.

Additional information about all elements of the U.S. Missile Defense System can be found at

Please direct all media related queries to Mark Wright, MDA director of public affairs, at 571-231-8212, or Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, public affairs officer at 571-231-8211,


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