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US warship shoots down missile in space with ballistic ‘kill vehicle’

Incredible footage released by the US Navy shows the moment sailors successfully shot down a missile in space. The interception was aimed at testing the military’s latest technology, hitting the medium-range ballistic missile with the force of a 10-tonne lorry travelling at 600mph, experts said. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) Director Sam Greaves described it as a ‘superb accomplishment’.

The ‘kill vehcile’ interceptor test was launched from Navy warship USS John Finn off the west coast of Hawaii. It was third time lucky for the next generation SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, after two previous tests failed.

SM-3 interceptors are designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles in space using nothing more than ‘sheer impact’ experts say. ‘The interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy its target,’ maker Raytheon said. ‘Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-tonne truck traveling 600 mph. ‘This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill”, has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet.’

The test involved firing a target missile from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii, on October 26. The USS John Finn (DDG-113) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system.