American missile defense often fails spectacularly—but in one of these occasional interception wins, it looks pretty spectacular. Enjoy the slow motion flames and fanfare while it lasts, courtesy of the Navy's newest toy.

The test of the brand new Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) was carefully choreographed, according to DVIDS:

At 8:18 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time (2:18 a.m. EDT May 10) the target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew on a northwesterly trajectory towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS LAKE ERIE detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB interceptor. The USS LAKE ERIE continued to track the target and sent trajectory information to the SM-3 Block IB interceptor in-flight. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space, as designated by the fire control solution, and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the threat in a hit-to-kill intercept.

The tracking, using infrared detection, would ideally wall off the US from ICBM strikes along the coast (ours or someone else's). The news of this test comes (perhaps not coincidentally!) a single day after Congress gave the big chubby thumbs up to a missile defense system even the Pentagon says we don't need. Surely a coincidence.