TOKYO, March 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan and the United
States carried out their first test of a jointly developed ballistic missile
defense system successfully on Wednesday, Kyodo News reported.
|This photo provided by the Department of Defense shows a Standard Missile-3 interceptor being launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii, Wednesday, March 8, 2006. (Xinhua/Reuters)|
This is also the first joint test for the upgraded
version of the Standard Missile-3 interceptor tipped with an innovative nosecone
made in Japan.
The test, with the primary purpose of checking the
capabilities of the Japanese nosecone, was held off the Pacific island of
Hawaii. The Aegis ballistic missile defense system onboard the U.S.Navy's
cruiser Lake Erie launched the modified SM-3 at around 10:47 a.m. after
detecting the simulated target.
U.S. Defense Department officials described the
flight test mission as an important milestone in the project and an example of
the close coordination between the United States and Japan in ballistic missile
defense, Kyodo said.
The joint test follows a decision by the Japanese
Cabinet in late December giving the green light for Japan to proceed with joint
development of the next-generation missile interceptor with the United States.
Japan, bearing plans to begin establishing a missile
defense shield with the conventional SM-3 interceptors by March 2008, launched
missile defense research with the United States in 1999.