Navy Anti-Missile Defense Test Shoots And Scores!
According to this article from CNN, USS Lake Erie (CG 70) recently destroyed a test missile in the final phase of flight using an SM-2 missile (I'm assuming it was an SM-2 Block IVA). One passage of the article jumped out at me:
"The Navy already can shoot down a missile in its final stage with a Patriot Advanced Capability 3, or PAC-3, missile launched from land."
I'm assuming here that the AP reporter didn't know that the PAC-3 is an Army missile, or maybe just doesn't know the difference between the Army and the Navy.
The Navy Area Defense System (yes, it has an unfortunate acronym) has been quietly growing into what appears to be quite an effective program. Along with the SM-2, the Navy has also been deploying the SM-3 missile, specifically designed for short- or intermediate-range ballistic missile defense. Later this year, USS Shiloh (CG 67), one of the Navy's SM-3 shooters, will be changing homeports to Yokosuka, which should give the North Koreans some pause if they decide they want to lob missiles towards Japan. Overall, it's a good way for the surface Navy to stay relevant in the 21st century.